Creation-Evolution Headlines
 May 2002
“Modern minds within the secular media are presenting an unscientific duality of thought when praising engineering complexity in man-made machines, glorying in the great creative advances of mankind, but presenting the complexity of the world around us (of often far greater intricacy than man-made machines) as due to a gigantic unplanned cosmic experiment, with no Creator.”
– Dr. Andrew McIntosh, mathematician, In Six Days: Why 50 Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation (New Holland, 1999), p. 151.

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Art Students Get Unexpected Dose of Creation Geology from Commencement Speaker   05/31/2002
Exclusive  A funny thing happened on the way to graduation: students of Cal State Northridge’s College of Arts and Music got a dose of catastrophist geology.  Commencement speaker Bran Ferren, a media consultant, was illustrating a point about “non-obvious phenomena,” with a series of examples, when he asked the assembled candidates for Masters and Bachelors degrees in theater, art, journalism and music, along with their professors and a large crowd of family and friends, a question that sounded like something out of a creation seminar: “If you were standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, how long would you think it took to form?  A million years?  Ten million?  A hundred million?”  He asked for shows of hands for how many thought it would take anywhere from a billion to a few hundred years.  A few timid hands voted for the young end of the scale.  He challenged them to think about it.  If it took a long time, why wouldn’t the whole world look the same?  Then he said,

Did it only rain over Arizona and Utah?  Clearly we were taught something wrong.  Something else must have happened.  Current theory is that there was a big dam ... a lake broke and most of the heavy lifting of how you did the Grand Canyon was done in a matter of weeks to months.  And the same process of weathering and erosion that took place everywhere else happened.
Ferren continued on with other non-geological examples of non-obvious phenomena, and the usual commencement-style rhetoric about making the world a better place and finding your goal in life.
This little anecdote, uttered in a nonchalant manner as a passing thought, was probably barely noted by the students who were eager to get on with celebrating the end of school.  But it is significant.  For over 130 years it has been common knowledge that the Grand Canyon took millions of years to form; it was obvious!  Evolutionists were cocky sure about it, just as they bluff about everything else.  But lately, the timescale for Grand Canyon formation has been plummeting; from 50 million to ten million years, then two million, then less than a million.  It was young-earth creationists like Walter Brown and Steve Austin who proposed the dam-breach theory!  Now, it appears the rest of the geological community is opening up to this possibility without giving the creationists credit for the idea.  This is a radical change of heart by uniformitarians!  It should be shocking for all tourists, standing at Yavapai Point, to consider.  Surely an event of this magnitude was not your everyday process.  If catastrophes this big did indeed occur on the earth, what about the fossils, the layers, and everything else?  Could this open the door for realistic consideration of Noah’s Flood as true history?  Don’t count on it, but there is a lesson to be learned from Ferren’s remarks, stated as they were to a secular crowd (with no boos and hisses in response) – the creationists were right!  The evolutionists and experts and national park signs were wrong!  Take note, and good luck in your career.
Next headline on: Dating Methods. • Next headline on: Geology. • Next headline on: School.
DNA Translation Machinery Is the Major Cell Building Project   05/31/2002
“The ribosomal RNA [rRNA] genes encode the enzymatic scaffold of the ribosome and thereby perform perhaps the most basic of all housekeeping functions.  However, recent data suggests that they might also control important aspects of cell behavior.” Thus begins a minireview in the
May 31 issue of Cell, which says that one of the biggest, if not the ultimate, cellular subsystem is preparing and controlling the machinery to translate DNA into proteins:
An actively cycling eukaryotic cell expends between 35% and 60% of its total nuclear transcription effort in making the 18S, 5.8S, and 28S ribosomal RNAs (rRNA) (Paule, 1998 , and references therein).  The 5S rRNA and the small nucleolar RNAs required for ribosome biogenesis, account for another 10% to 20%.  Thus, the assembly of the translational machinery occupies around 80% of nuclear transcription in yeast, while in the proliferating mammalian cell as much as 50% is dedicated to this goal.  Even relatively small changes in this commitment are likely to have extensive repercussions on the cell’s economy, limiting proliferation rates and perhaps even cell fate. ... Though little is known of the changes that occur in vivo, one would suspect that, given the longevity of ribosomes and the highly variable proliferation rates of different somatic cell types, rRNA transcription rates must be regulated over a wide range if neither a ribosome deficit nor an overproduction is to occur.
The minireview by Tom Moss and Victor Stefanovsky, “At the Center of Eukaryotic Life,” goes on to describe many functions of ribosomal RNA, including regulatory functions previously unknown.  rRNA molecules appear to silence some genes, a mystery that may be explained by having backup copies available in case damage occurs to the highly active rRNA genes.  They conclude, “Recent work argues that the rRNA genes are not simply bystanders in the decisions on cell fate.  Understanding the regulatory network surrounding the rRNA genes is then an essential part of understanding cell growth regulation.  It may even turn out that the housekeeper is in fact keeping the house.”
Housekeeper?  Doesn’t that imply intelligent design?  Here is another subsystem that was considered a “bystander” but turns out to be a high-level manager.  Without tight management performed by rRNA, the cell would die.  Notice how much equipment and design goes into translation of DNA, which speaks of a language convention (see our May 22 commentary), another indicator of design.  Evolutionists imagine all this complex equipment originating from simple RNA ribozymes, which show (under controlled lab conditions) a little activity and replication, but there is a tremendous gap in complexity between artificial ribozymes and the machinery found in single-celled eukaryotes, like yeast.  How did yeast figure out it might be good to have hundreds of backup copies, and evolve the equipment to keep them locked up until an emergency?  These are capabilities far in excess of what is needed for survival.  Yet evolutionists ask us to believe this complexity arose by a process that can’t even add 1.5% length to a bird beak in 30 years.  Natural selection, wandering aimlessly in the dark, is wholly incapable of such complex, interdependent operations.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry.
Mouse Genome Released; Overturns Evolutionary Notions   05/31/2002
The full genome of the mouse has been released, and “already long-held notions are being overturned,” writes Elizabeth Pennisi writing in the
May 31 online edition of Science.  The 1970’s picture of a genome as being a string of genes linked together, for one, has been overturned in the last 30 years as scientists realize that there are long sections of non-coding DNA, parts that have been duplicated or inserted or transposed, and more.  Another surprise is that some of these non-coding regions, which evolutionists thought were free to mutate without harming the organism, appear conserved between human and mouse, and that different parts of the genome appear to mutate at radically different rates if animals diverged from a common ancestor.  Evolutionary biologists appear to be in for hard times explaining some of the findings.  “For one,” writes Pennisi, “it will complicate the work of evolutionary biologists, who often attempt to date when new species emerged using so-called molecular clocks.  These clocks depend on the relative number of mutations in a species and are based on the premise that they ‘tick’ at a constant rate throughout the history of the DNA.  A number of skeptics have questioned the reliability of these clocks (Science, 5 March 1999, p. 1435), and the new findings could provide them with new ammunition.”
We’ve been reporting this fact for months (see Feb 26 and Oct 1, for instance).  The picture is complicated and confusing, certainly not what one would expect if evolution were true.  Whatever the genome story is telling, it is not a simple evolutionary tale.  “Genomes are evolving in a completely nonuniform way,” complains one biologist, and another mourns that the wide variation in mutation rates in non-coding regions is “a complication we didn’t anticipate.”  Maybe it would make more sense if they looked at the genomes with a focus on function rather than phylogeny; i.e., intelligent design instead of evolution.
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory. • Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry.
Mars May Have Enough Water to Flood Planet   05/30/2002
The
BBC News reports that Mars may have enough ice locked up in the soil (see May 28 headline) to have flooded the planet in the past.  The article states, “The underground ice solves one of the deepest and longstanding mysteries about the Red Planet: where did the water go?”
Observation 1: Mars has no liquid water now, but could have had a worldwide flood in the past.  Observation 2: Earth has a surface 70% covered by liquid water and could have had a worldwide flood in the past.  Skeptic: Noah’s Flood is just a legend.  Where did the water come from?  Where did it go?”
Next headline on: Mars.
How Did Uranus and Neptune Form?   05/30/2002
The June 2002 issue of
Sky and Telescope NewsNotes section, p. 20, laments the problems of explaining the ice giants: “Pity Uranus and Neptune.  Not only do they evade the naked eye and underwhelm the telescope, no one can even explain why they exist.”  The three leading proposals all have problems:
  1. Core Accretion, the standard model, would take too long.  Rocky accretions that would build up enough gravity to collect gas would take hundreds of millions of years, but accretion disks around other stars don’t appear to last that long.
  2. Disk Instability, a model proposed in the March 2002 Icarus might only take a few hundred years for blobs of gas to decouple and ice particles to settle in.  Then a nearby hot O star might blow away the gas atmosphere in a million years.  Other planetary scientists are glad to see an alternative to core accretion, but think this model is contrived and depends on unlikely timing.   The Icarus article begins, “The robustness of the current theory of the origin of the Solar System deteriorates sharply with increasing distance from the Sun.”  It claims core accretion has a hard enough time with Jupiter and Saturn, but “The problems facing the formation in situ of the ice giant planets, Uranus and Neptune, by the core accretion mechanism are even more severe” because not only would they take too long to form, but any accumulating material would have been ejected into cometary orbits.  “Ice giant planets cannot form in the standard model,” they affirm, and therefore propose their alternative.    Hal Levison, however, is skeptical that the solar system could form so near a hot star.
  3. Migration, in which Uranus and Neptune would form at Jupiter’s distance then migrate outward, does not account for the compositional differences between the gas giants (Jupiter and Saturn) and the ice giants.  This model is proposed in the May Astronomical Journal.   Hal Levison explains what he calls his “fairy tale” migration theory in the June 2 Astrobiology Magazine; where he calls his and the other theories “crazy.” He concludes, “We have to start thinking of alternatives.  Probably there’s a method for their formation that no one has even thought of yet.”
Other puzzles about these ice giants, Uranus and Neptune, include their ring systems (which appear young and tenuous), their strange moons like Miranda (which has composite terrains with sharp edges and one of the highest cliffs in the solar system), Ariel (whose canyon floors appear to have been resurfaced by a fluid), and Triton (a large body that orbits retrograde and, though -391oF, has active geysers, a fresh-looking surface and complex terrain).  In addition, there are the extremely high winds on Neptune (fastest in the solar system), the oddity that Uranus is tipped on its side, and the magnetic fields which are highly inclined from the poles and offset from the center of mass.  Compare the head-scratching and hand-wringing in this story with the neat, computer graphic simulations of solar system evolution seen on educational TV shows and diagrams in textbooks.  Time to face the real worlds.
Next headline on: Solar System.
Membrane Channels Are Doorways to Health – or Death   05/29/2002
The latest issue of
Neuron, May 30 has an essay about membrane channels and their importance.  The authors of “Channels Gone Bad” begin,
Channels regulate ion flow across membranes and are an essential component of cell function.  Indeed, nearly all cell membranes contain ion channels, proteins with diverse roles, and sometimes highly complex behaviors.  Channels are activated and inactivated by many signals and their function regulated by countless processes.  Yet, beware of the aberrant channel.  Channels that open when they shouldn’t, channels that do not open very well or at all, channels that stay open too long, misplaced channels, lack of channels, too many channels; all these scenarios can have disastrous consequences.
They describe some of the horrible consequences of mistakes in the genes that code for these complex proteins: cancer, numerous types of disease, and death.
Published the same day, the May 30 Nature has a report on how ion channels open and close their gates, and features two more papers on this subject by the pioneer in this field, Roderick MacKinnon of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute: the crystal structure and gating mechanisms and conformational changes of potassium ion channels.  The papers contain detailed pictorial models of how the channels and their selectivity filters attract and transmit the correct molecules rapidly and accurately, but repel interlopers.
We’ve reported several interesting discoveries recently about these amazing channels.  Here is another complex function – active transport – that would have had to be operational early on in chemical evolution, independently of the origin of the genetic code, translation mechanism, and reproduction, to allow nutrients to enter and waste to exit.  So many precise parts would have had to come together simultaneously to evolve a living cell, that it is incredible to believe it could ever happen by chance.  Not only are these channels precision engineered gates, this article shows that small abnormalities wreak havoc.  Read our previous entries about potassium channels, chloride channels, and water channels and stand in awe of the wonders within your body keeping you functioning right now without your conscious thought or control.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry. • Next amazing story.
Pulsar Ages Are All Mixed Up   05/28/2002
The June issue of Sky and Telescope is on newsstands, and its NewsNotes highlights what it calls “The Pulsar Age Crisis.”  Findings that some appear older than previously believed, and one pulsar perhaps 15 times younger than earlier reported, “undermine a seemingly secure corner of astronomy.”  Age-dating a pulsar by the amount of proper motion from the center of the supernova remnant often disagrees wildly from estimates of its spin-down time, the previous standard of dating.  One astronomer comments, “These results make people aware of the uncertainty, especially in the case of young pulsars, and of the assumptions that go into the age estimates.”
At least they’re honest about it, but this was one of the “secure corners” of astronomy; what confidence do we have that the proper motion technique is any more reliable?  Those rely on assumptions, too.
Next headline on: Dating Methods.
Mammal Family Tree A Conflicting Tangle   05/28/2002
An international team of zoologists publishing in the
May 28 online preprints of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined the mitochondrial DNA of 60 mammalian species and tried to construct an evolutionary family tree.  Although some relationships were listed as “strongly supported,” their article mentions a number of controversies in the ranks, and their resulting tree seems to break other pet theories, as these excerpts indicate [emphasis and bracketed words added]:
  1. The phylogenetic position of Pholidota has been a matter of debate.  A sister group relationship between Xenarthra and Pholidota in a basal position in the eutherian tree has been proposed (e.g., ref. 12). However, other authors (13) have challenged this proposal.
  2. Despite the anticipated close relationship between Dermoptera and Primates, the grouping of Dermoptera within the order Primates as the sister group of the Anthropoidea is highly unexpected. ... [later in paper] The position of Dermoptera within Primates as the sister group of Anthropoidea is highly unexpected, even though there are morphological arguments in favor of a close relationship between the two orders (44).
  3. The traditional order Lipotyphla splits into three lineages: Erinaceomorpha, Tenrecomorpha, and Soricomorpha.  On the basis of their separate phylogenetic positions [i.e., assumed evolutionary ancestry] and the depths of their origin, each of these lineages is recognized as having ordinal status.
  4. Consistent with other mtg studies (10, 11), the ML amino acid analysis did not favor a monophyletic Rodentia but rather split the order into two groups, one with myomorph rodents and the Taiwan vole, the other consisting of the two hystricognaths and the dormouse and the squirrel.
  5. The support for branch K (African clade) is conclusive but the relationships between the aardvark, the elephant shrew, and the tenrec remained largely unresolved
  6. The relationship between Carnivora and Perissodactyla (40) was morphologically unexpected, but this relationship has been generally supported in subsequent molecular studies.
  7. The relationship between artiodactyls and cetaceans [whales] was recently addressed in two morphological/paleontological studies (51, 52).  The conclusions of these studies were inconsistent.  Gingerich et al. (51), in agreement with molecular results, concluded that cetaceans have their origin within Artiodactyla, whereas Thewissen [a leading theorist on whale evolution] et al. (52) inferred that Artiodactyla and Cetacea were sister groups.  Test of the latter phylogeny relative to the best mtg tree found the latter relationship as highly improbable (Table 3).  Although the morphological conclusions may initially seem incongruent, both might be correct if Archaeoceti is paraphyletic.  Archaeocete paraphyly has been suggested (53-56) and it is possible that the study by Thewissen et al. focused on taxa that do not form a monophyletic group together with extant cetaceans.
  8. The amino acid analyses reconstructed trees that were largely congruent irrespective of the method used.  In comparison, the nucleotide trees differed considerably depending on the analytical approach used.
  9. The mtg results challenge several traditional or semitraditional morphological hypotheses for eutherian relationships... [six examples cited]
  10. Finally, the pinniped results lend no support to the morphological hypothesis of a sister group relationship between Odobenidae and Phocidae to the exclusion of Otariidae (21), underlining the problems associated with basing phylogenetic conclusions on anatomical features that may have strong adaptive values.
  11. The suggestions of a Cretaceous origin of eutherian orders have been met with suspicion by many paleontologists. It has been argued that the molecular estimates suggesting early origin of eutherian orders are artifactual and caused by accelerated molecular evolution at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary or immediately thereafter (63). However, a post-K/T acceleration of this kind would actually have an opposite effect, as calibration points such as A/C-60 (the split between ruminant artiodactyls and cetancodonts 60 MY B.P.) (58), placed within the postulated window of accelerated evolution, would tend to shrink the estimated datings of earlier divergences.  Furthermore, comparisons between estimates based on eutherian calibration points of different ages do not suggest any effects of this kind (49).
  12. If the proposed relationship between the zhelestids and the heterogenous eutherian group is phylogenetically correct, the zhelestid fossils support mtg analyses that place primate origin and divergences much deeper than commonly conceived (2, 19, 49, 58, 59).
  13. The trees reconstructed in the real data studies and the mtg analyses show pronounced similarities when they are viewed as unrooted.
  14. The capacity of mt rRNA genes for resolving ordinal mammalian relationships may be more limited than generally believed (e.g., ref. 68).  Only the stem regions of the mt rRNA genes seem to carry a useful (albeit marginal) phylogenetic signal and inclusion of the other parts of these sequences may increase the background noise and promote the selection of the wrong signal (20).
  15. One of the main differences between the mtg results and the recent mt/nuclear studies (7) is related to the position of Erinaceomorpha, which in mtg analyses (both amino acid and nucleotide) has a basal position in the eutherian tree.  This finding is inconsistent with nucleotide analyses of nuclear sequences, which preferably place Erinaceomorpha with Soricomorpha in a less basal position.
  16. As is evident from the branch lengths in Fig. 1, the mt evolutionary rate of the anthropoids is fast compared with other eutherian lineages.
  17. Superficially, the trees shown in Figs. 1 and 2 may appear strikingly different. ... Independent of analytical method, all amino acid analyses placed this point on the branch leading to myomorph rodents and the vole, whereas ML nucleotide analysis placed it on the short Xenarthra branch, alternatively on the branch leading to the African clade.  However, as a result of the short branches separating basal eutherian divergences, an mtg amino acid tree with the root placed on the African clade branch is not statistically refuted under a rate heterogeneity model when Erinaceomorpha is excluded from the data set (Table 3).
  18. The current mtg analyses and the recent mt/nuclear studies identify different rooting points in the eutherian tree.  It is as yet not clear whether this inconsistency is related to the OG or to the eutherian data sets, or both.  Whatever the reasons for this discrepancy, it is evident that the establishment of the rooting point of the eutherian tree is of paramount importance to the discussion of eutherian evolution, both molecular and morphological.
We apologize for the length of this entry, but sometimes the devil is in the details.  We wanted our readers to experience the sweating that goes on behind closed academic doors trying to put together an evolutionary tale for the textbooks and media sound bites.  Does anyone feel confident that evolutionists have a consistent story here?  That this paper makes things better?  That evolution just jumps right out of the data?  That they are making progress?  Ever since Linnaeus, morphology (outward appearance and skeletal structure) has been the gold standard for establishing taxonomy, and ever since Darwin, morphology has been the basis for building family trees (phylogenies).  But now that we have means of comparing genes, mitochondrial DNA and proteins, the picture is more confused than ever.  Old favorite groupings are out, and strange bedfellows are in.  The PBS Evolution series boasted about the clear family tree of whales, but this is contradicted in quote 7 above.  Quote 13 seems to say that the data only match when unrooted; i.e., not having a common ancestor – so where is the evolution?
The tweak space here is considerable.  When genetic relationships don’t match, the evolutionists invoke their hand-waving ideas of parallel evolution (paraphyly); i.e., that different groups that look very similar had the same sets of accidents on different paths, or convergent evolution, that totally different lineages converged on the same appearance.  When those fail, they can fall back on rate heterogeneity, another fudge factor that supposes different genes mutate at different rates.  A creationist would expect similarities between similar types of animals.  For evolutionists, molecular phylogeny has clearly not been the proof they expected.  Remember articles like these the next time you see one of those nice, neat-looking family trees that look so solid.  The inside is full of termites, and the outside is a facade.
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory. • Next headline on: Mammals.
Mars Soil Loaded with Water Ice   05/28/2002
Latest neutron measurements from the new
Mars Odyssey spacecraft indicate high levels of hydrogen in the first meter of Martian soil within 60o of the poles, which scientists are interpreting as abundant water ice, 20% to 50% by mass.
We’re not surprised.  Some of Saturn’s moons and rings are nearly 100% water ice.  Ice is not water, and water is not life.  “What are the implications for life?” asks the press release.  We’ll give evolutionists all the earth-like planets they want, with oceans galore; life is another story.
Next headline on: Mars.
Key Evolutionary Speciation Mechanism Questioned   05/28/2002
The “founder effect” (developed by Ernst Mayr in 1954) has been challenged by a team of scientists publishing in the
May 28 online preprints of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Textbooks commonly show this effect, where a small population or single breeding pair enters a new habitat (the founders) and starts a new population that rapidly develops into a new species.  (Technically, the founders create a genetic bottleneck because of reduced heterozygosity of alleles, allowing greater expression of recessive characters.)
These authors found, however, no such genetic bottleneck in a real world case.  They studied historically-known invasions of Pacific islands by Australian silvereye birds, and found no evidence that single founding events could explain the populations better than random genetic drift of small isolated populations or multiple founding effects of large populations.  “The importance of founder events in promoting evolutionary changes on islands has been a subject of long-running controversy,” they begin.  After their analysis, they conclude that single founder events are not significant to create genetic diversity.  They note, “The general lack of strong founder effects accompanying island colonization by silvereyes is particularly striking given that members of the species complex have been repeatedly invoked by evolutionary biologists in discussions of island colonization and founder effects.”  A summary of this paper can be found on EurekAlert.
The authors are not denying evolution, of course, but they provide another damaging admission that an example used repeatedly of speciation by natural evolutionary means is wrong, when checked in a real-world case.  We have seen this kind of reality check before, often, in these pages.  Evolution makes big, bold headlines, but the retractions are often made in fine print in the back pages years later, in scientific journals rarely seen by the public.  When things you were taught turn out to be false, we think that’s news that’s fit to print.  Their retractions are our headlines.
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory.
New Images of Io Show Active Volcanism   05/28/2002
The
Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released nine new images of Io taken during the October 16, 2001 flyby of the Galileo spacecraft.  The images show several surprises, such as mountains 19,700 feet high and the crater of a previously-imaged volcanic plume 239 miles high.  Scientists infer a possible possible lava lake at the foot of Tohil Mons, because no landslide debris is seen at the foot of the mountain.  “Io is a weird place,” comments Torrence Johnson.  Without plate tectonics, Io appears to build its mountains by thrust faults.  Many of the volcanic craters appear to lie within collapsed calderas.
Amazing and exciting discoveries here.  It seems hard to believe these processes could have been going on for 4.5 billion years.  We’ll have to see what explanations the scientists give for this tiny moon having the largest and most active volcanoes in the solar system.
Another moon with surprises up its sleeves is waiting in the wings: Enceladus.  When the Cassini spacecraft begins its orbital tour on July 1, 2004, a prime target is this small icy moon (smaller than Io) whose surface appears to be fresh and bright, as if recently resurfaced by an unknown mechanism, perhaps water volcanism.  Cassini’s first flyby of Enceladus is scheduled for February 17, 2005, just one of 74 encounters on the four-year tour plan.  Unlike Galileo, crippled by a defective antenna, Cassini is in good shape and loaded for bear.  26 months and counting.
Next headline on: Solar System.
Stephen Hawking Says God Rolled Loaded Dice   05/27/2002
According to
WorldNetDaily, Stephen Hawking believes “God may play dice after all,” contradicting Einstein’s famous assertion that God does not play dice with the universe.  Hawking and colleague Thomas Hertog are advocating a top-down cosmology (working from the present back) instead of the usual bottom-up approach (working from initial conditions forward).  He believes quantum mechanics dictates this approach, because it explains not how the universe should be, but why the universe is the way it is.
“God may play dice, then, but only if the dice are loaded,” the article explains.  “If the universe depends on observables, it also depends on we the observers, so the dice had to somehow guarantee that we humans would emerge.”
This is, of course, the Weak Anthropic Principle, which is a cop-out, not an explanation.  It states merely that if the universe weren’t in the ideal state it is, we wouldn’t be here arguing about whether its existence were possible.  But we are here, so the universe of reality cries out for an explanation worthy of its fine-tuned existence..
Not too much should be inferred about Hawking coming around to belief in God from this article.  He refers to God in his writings, but only as another variable in his equations.  Smart as these cosmologists are, they are basically hobbyists who like to play mathematical brain teasers with each other.  They work out complex mathematical equations about possible realities that only occasionally intersect with the real universe.  If Hawking is growing in his conviction that our universe is indeed finely-tuned for our existence, well, I suppose that is progress – more accurately, a return to the ultimate top-down approach that already explained all the observables: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
Next headline on: Cosmology. • Next headline on: Physics.
Proposed Ohio Science Framework Squeezes out I.D., Dogmatizes Darwin   05/24/2002
A draft science standard document for the Ohio School Board is more Darwinistic than ever, claims
Answers in Genesis.  In spite of widespread support by the public to include arguments on both sides, the writers of the new draft standard “utterly ignored ID [intelligent design] or any aspect of the controversy about evolution in their revision.”    The article contains a statement by a nationally recognized science teacher in Ohio who argues for allowing students to hear both sides.
Evolutionary dogma only succeeds by silencing the opposition.  Repeatedly in college debates and other forums where both sides have equal opportunity to present the scientific evidence, evolutionists lose; only a small minority favor their case.  That is the reason for the zeal of the NCSE and the Darwin party to forbid all mention of alternatives, even if it means presenting blatant falsehoods in favor of evolution, because once students and the public are exposed to evidence on both sides, there’s no contest.  Is this the way you want science taught to your children?  Read the teacher’s true examples of falsehoods taught in the name of evolution.  Creationists and advocates want people to hear both sides of the controversy, while evolutionists want to shove the evidence into the closet and say, ”What controversy?  Evolution is a fact.”
Evolutionists continually portray the controversy in religious terms, portraying evolution as science and creation as religion, as exemplified in the recent PBS TV series Evolution.  They prevent legitimate scientific challenges from being heard.  The late triple-PhD chemist A. E. Wilder-Smith debated Richard Dawkins in the hotseat of the Cambridge debate society in 1986, the same place where, 100 years earlier, Samuel Wilberforce had so famously lost to Thomas Huxley.  That debate had been a turning point in the academic community’s embrace of Darwinism, but, as Wilder-Smith pointed out, Huxley (“Darwin’s bulldog”) won based on a flawed analogy (remember the million monkeys typing on a million typewriters?).  Wilder-Smith and his colleague succeeded in presenting compelling scientific evidence for creation, while Dawkins and his colleague retaliated primarily with religious arguments, clearly in violation of the rules of the debate, which explicitly stated that only scientific evidences could be presented.  As a result, nearly half of the predominantly pro-evolution audience agreed that the creationists had won.  You would think, considering the notoriety the Huxley-Wilberforce debate generated a century before, that this debate would have been noticed by the press, but Cambridge refused to publish it, refused to report it, and stifled it so effectively that there are now no official records anywhere that the debate even took place!  (Wilder-Smith described the episode often in public speeches and his memoirs).  Duane Gish, “creation’s bulldog” of the modern creation revival, also recently reminded an audience that out of his nearly 300 debates with leading evolutionists on college campuses and public auditoriums, he always stuck to the scientific evidence while his opponents usually brought up religious and philosophical arguments.  When we see known fraudulent arguments like Haeckel’s embryos and peppered moths still used as evidence for evolution in textbooks, we ask you to consider: who is on the side of scientific integrity here?
If you are appalled at the shameful propaganda tactics of the Darwin party, and if you don’t want to see Ohio churn out a generation of students parroting “evolution is a fact!” like little windup toys, you have a chance to share your opinion to the Ohio School Board for two more days until Monday, May 27.  Please be respectful and make sure you check your spelling, facts and logic.
Next headline on: Schools. • Next headline on: Intelligent Design.
Apes Use Stone Tools, Too   05/24/2002
ScienceNow has a news summary of a paper in the May 24 online issue of Science about a nut-cracking galley used by chimpanzees.  This opens a new field of human evolution studies called “ape archaeology.”  If similar sites are found in the fossil record, perhaps the evolution of human tool use could be traced.  Tim White of the University of California cautions, however, that even the simplest hominid tool site is fundamentally different from the chimpanzee nutcracking site, where the apes simply use unmodified stones as hammers against other stones.
On a related subject, the BBC News reported April 26 that animal activists in the US were launching a campaign to let chimpanzees go to court: “The Chimpanzee Collaboratory says chimpanzees are so close to humans - sharing 98.7% of our genetic make-up - that they deserve to get the same kind of legal representation as children.”
Let’s give credit to the ingenuity a Creator would give to His creatures so that they could eat and survive in the wild.  What’s so big about tool use?  Even birds use tools to dig bugs out of wood.  If a bird can build an elaborate nest, and a beaver an architecturally-sound dam, and honeybees a geometrical hive, what’s the big deal about apes pounding nuts with rocks?  Evolutionists are driven by the desire to show there is no essential difference between me and thee and the chimpanzee.
The genetic similarity of 98.7% is an oft-quoted piece of misinformation.  We don’t mind if apes get legal representation, so long as they hire their own lawyers from within their own species and pay for them out of their own banana banks.  We’ll even grant them the right of a peel, so long as they leave it on the floor in the path of an animal rights activist.
Next headline on: Early Man. • Next dumb story.
Binary Asteroids Puzzle Astronomers   05/24/2002
A team of planetary scientists from Caltech, NASA, JPL and Cornell writing in the
May 24 online issue of Science discusses the unusually high number of asteroids that have companions orbiting them.  About 16% of studied near earth asteroids (NEA) have companions, and the parent bodies have a spherical shape that indicates they did not simply split apart.  Afer ruling out impacts and capture as the most likely mechanisms, the authors hypothesize that breakup of loosely bound aggregates from tidal stresses during near-planet encounters might explain their numbers and orbital characteristics the best.  The problem is that this mechanism could only keep binaries together for 10 million years, less than one 400th the assumed age of the solar system, so why are binaries so common?
No one anomaly like this means the solar system is younger than believed, because there is always some explanation that can be offered.  But when you find numerous other phenomena that are short-lived, like ring arcs around Neptune, young rings around Saturn, an atmosphere on Titan that can’t survive for long, young meteorites and lunar craters, hot violent volcanos on a tiny moon, short-lived radioisotopes in the solar wind, young-looking structures on icy Callisto, small moons with too much heat, comets still burning up when the source is smaller than previously thought, and Mars covered with mind-boggling features, these observations together have to make you wonder how firm that often-touted number of 4.5 billion years is, considering that scientists still can’t explain how the solar system formed in the first place.  It is only the radioactive dating of certain asteroids that yields the standard old age, but what if there are other explanations for that?  Should not all these other considerations, taken together, have some weight on dating the solar system?  The only reason that the old age date is untouchable is that a young solar system would not provide the vast periods of time evolutionists need to account for life on earth.  As if that would help them; we invite our readers to wade through the Chain Links on Origin of Life and see all the hand-wringing going on there, too.
Next headline on: Dating Methods. • Next headline on: Solar System.
Cats Have Evolved to Manipulate Their Owners   05/23/2002
Evolution has given your cat the ability to make you give it what it wants, claims Nicholas Nicastro, a graduate student in evolutionary psychology at Cornell University.  The
BBC News reports that Nicastro played 100 different recorded cat calls to a group of 26 humans and asked them to rate the pleasantness of the sounds to conclude that cats have evolved the right tones in their meows [American spelling] to get humans to give them food, or pet them, or otherwise manipulate their owners.  SciNews also discusses this story as an experiment on the evolutionary process of artificial selection.  Others are skeptical and claim this has nothing to do with evolution or genetics.  Nicastro, however, explains, “Cats are domesticated animals that have learned what levers to push, what sounds to make to manage our emotions.  And when we respond, we too are domesticated animals.”
Lamarckism is alive and well at Cornell.  Dr. John Bradshaw of Southampton University correctly argued, “The idea that a female would go up to a male in a back alley somewhere and say, ‘could I hear your miaow [British spelling] to see if the kittens you father will be appealing to people’, couldn’t happen.  Cats don’t have that level of communication.” 
But if this is artificial selection, it is not evolution.  Artificial selection is intelligent design!  Human breeding involves guided choice on which animals or plants are allowed to breed, and has nothing to do with evolution; breeders have done artificial selection for millennia before Darwin.
So here is another ramification of the evolutionary mentality: you are the pet, and your cat is the owner.  You are a “domesticated animal” now; your cat has you on the leash.  But we didn’t need an evolutionist to tell us that; we read Garfield.
Update   The author of the paper, Nick Nicastro, wrote us to explain that his theory is not Lamarckian; he is stating that cats that have developed symbiotic relationships with humans are more likely to leave offspring.  Whether or not this idea is defensible, however, we would claim it is still a case of artificial selection and has nothing to do with the evolution of cats or humans from some other kind of creature.  Cats had all their organs and vocalization skills before people decided which ones they liked to pet and hold, and which ones they wanted to chase away with stomping foot and angry holler, Scat out of here!
Next headline on: Mammals. • Next dumb story.
Intact DNA Found in 465 Million Year Old Salt   05/23/2002
English scientists writing in the
May 23 issue of Nature, report recovering bacterial DNA samples from several salt deposits they estimated are 11 to 465 million years old.  The DNA sequences, taken from evaporite deposits in Michigan, Poland and Thailand, were nearly identical to each other and to living counterparts.  They write, “The close relatives of these salt-crystal phylotypes are thus ubiquitous, and live in a wide variety of environments, including the subsurface.  Therefore, it is probable that some of these related but geographically distinct organisms have been separated for millions of years, yet they still share very similar 16S rRNA sequences.  This lends support to the argument that the molecular clock may be slow in certain phylogenetic lineages.”  They conclude that “DNA entrapped in halite can survive over geological timescales....”
Others are critical.  A write-up in New Scientist thinks this claim will come back to haunt Nature for publishing it.  Some scientists feel the DNA are common contaminants; others argue that at best, DNA could only survive a million years without degrading.  The authors respond that salt is a preservative.
Something sounds drastically wrong with their assumptions.  DNA intact after 465 million years?  How can this fragile molecule survive splitting continents, asteroid impacts, mountain building episodes, floods, earthquakes and other earth-shattering events?  And where is the evolution after all that time?  How did identical bacterial DNA get spread around the world, and show no change to the present?  Doesn’t this throw out all the other evolution papers that depend on the molecular clock?  Isn’t it more likely these deposits are young?  Could evolution be a myth?  Question authority (when the authority is questionable).
Next headline on: Dating Methods. • Next headline on: Geology.
Self-Replicating Evolutionary Cycle Demonstrated in Test Tube   05/22/2002
A paper by a team of Japanese chemists in the May 21
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences entitled, “Importance of compartment formation for a self-encoding system,” claims to have demonstrated that, if tightly compartmentalized, a gene and the protein that reads it can maintain a “hypercycle” of reactions that is evolvable and can replicate itself through at least ten generations.  The cycle breaks down in three generations if not compartmentalized.  Moreover, the successful compartmentalized products showed variation under the selection pressure of the compartments that could have led to further evolution (although the mutations actually observed appeared to be either deleterious or neutral).  They used off-the-shelf DNA polymerase in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with in vitro protein synthesis in their laboratory.  They describe their results and its implications for evolutionary theory:
Here, we showed a sustainable in vitro self-encoding system, where the genotype-phenotype dichotomy gyrated in a cyclical feedback coupling of the translated product, the DNA polymerase, and the replicated gene of its own throughout the evolutionary process.  In addition, the system was also proven effective in evolving molecules based on functional selection.  From the fact that functional selection comes into effect through imposed strict compartition on a self-encoding system, we may assume that primitive life used occasional subsequent dilution and compartition for its evolution.  When some of the replicators adopt strict compartition, their information will become digitalized and the system will become evolvable.
Recalling the “RNA World” hypothesis for how the first self-replicating, self-encoding cycle might have begun, they see a bright future: “As evolution proceeded, the replicator may have taken a more sophisticated mechanism, such as dividing vesicles, leading to the development of a whole arsenal of integrated networks that render the present status of cells.  Considering the robotics-supported technology of directed molecular evolution, it may not be too far to see the evolution of more sophisticated self-encoding system in the near future.”
This paper sparked our interest, because it seemed to be claiming that scientists had almost created life in a test tube.  It seemed to be saying that they got a gene and a protein to dance together in a self-replicating, self-encoding cycle that demonstrated how simple molecules could have started an evolutionary path that led to (eventually) intelligent biochemists who could recreate the process in a laboratory.  Isn’t this a beautiful example of evolutionary theory verified by empirical methods?  Doesn’t this show the superiority of naturalism over design, in that it leads to testable experiments instead of speculations about some undefined Mind out there?  Doesn’t this experiment, and others in the references, show the plausibility of chemical evolution?  No; this was an experiment demonstrating intelligent design.
If you go into a factory and isolate some machines that have dependencies on the rest of the factory, you might be able to get them to run as standalone systems for awhile.  It is a non-sequitur to conclude that you have demonstrated how the factory created itself.  At every step in this experiment, the scientists imposed their intelligent guidance on the molecules to make them do what they otherwise would not do.  This is called the fallacy of investigator interference and is a serious flaw in chemical evolution studies, as explained in the book The Mystery of Life’s Origin by Thaxton, Bradley and Olsen.  Moreover, these researchers started out with very information-rich ingredients: a gene and the sophisticated enzyme DNA polymerase.  Did you see their magic trick?  Watch carefully: “When some of the replicators adopt strict compartition,” they say, “their information will become digitalized...”  Whoa!  What information?  That was a clever sleight-of-hand maneuver... did you catch it?  Go read the quote above again: they got information out of compartition, just like pulling a rabbit out of a hat!  Then for the grand finale, they pull lions, tigers, elephants and whales out of the same hat: sophisticated mechanisms, dividing vesicles, and a “whole arsenal of integrated networks that render the present status of cells.”  Clap enthusiastically for this dazzling magic show!
Back to the real world.  How was the trick done?  Like running an existing power tool, they merely harnessed existing design and information built into these molecules to make them work for awhile (without their usual retinue of error-correcting and proofreading helpers) until they sputtered to a halt.  Left unexplained is how DNA polymerase and the gene that codes for it could have ever originated out of simple molecules without help from intelligent design.  They took a giant leap of faith.  “But at least they were in the lab experimenting; isn’t that better than just giving up and claiming ‘God did it’?” (This is a favorite criticism of Eugenie Scott and the NCSE.)  It depends.
To illustrate this, picture a large canyon, representing the origin of life, that the evolutionists must cross by building a bridge over it.  They think they are making progress when they hire a helicopter to hold a steel girder out in mid-air and say, “We have demonstrated that this girder would work as part of our bridge, if all the other parts were in place.” But what happens the moment they let go of the girder, and the pilot flies away?  It crashes to the bottom of the canyon, accomplishing nothing.  In their write-up of their results, they might refer to other helicopters that have held up other girders and cables at other points, none of which could have ever hung out there in mid-air waiting for the next piece to join up, yet they boast about the progress they’re making. 
An evolutionist may retort that they are not holding their girders in mid-air, but building from the sides to meet in the middle.  No they are not; every one of their experiments independently cheats by invoking intelligent design (the helicopter or the prefabricated girders), which is unlike what nature would do.  To imitate nature, they would have to take their intelligently guiding hands off the apparatus, and wait for millions of years in despair while nothing happens.  Besides, nature would only be able to build from one side of the canyon, and would have no directionality or will to aim for the other side, or to build on any previous “successes”.  (How do you define success, by the way, without a mind?)  Invoking natural selection prior to replication is also cheating; but without it, there is no building on prior successes.
Our bridge analogy is actually generous toward evolution; we gave them helicopters and steel girders, which are all designed objects built or manipulated by intelligent minds.  The evolutionists’ task is to tell us how mindless nature, using raw materials like iron ore, built the bridge itself, without help, and tell us why nature would even want to do such a marvelous thing.  And why even grant them the iron ore?  Go back far enough, and they have to explain the origin of all the raw materials from nothing.
The Japanese researchers got their cycle going using existing off-the-shelf DNA polymerase and genes from existing bacteria.  This is like the girder held in mid-air 50' from the far side of the canyon, while thousands of feet of missing bridge are simply assumed to be filled in by someone else.  To show what a huge gap that is, consider that both the protein and the gene were made of single-handed components: left-handed amino acids for the protein, and right-handed sugars for the gene.  The probability of getting even a short protein or gene of just 100 building blocks all of one hand is like the probability of flipping coins and getting 100 heads in a row: it is astronomically improbable, so much so that we can say confidently it would never happen in the whole universe in 20 billion years, even if every star had a planet with six billion people flipping coins trying.  This one consideration alone renders chemical evolution a pseudoscience. 
Another huge gap is the fact that DNA is a language, a code, a carrier of information.  Even these researchers correctly call it an informational molecule.  As the triple-PhD organic chemist A. E. Wilder-Smith used to emphasize, languages only carry meaning if there is a language convention, an agreement between two parties on what the code represents. 
I0 could mean ten, or two in binary digits, or sixteen in hexadecimal, or one of the moons of Jupiter, or nothing at all – depending on what we all agree in advance it means.  It is meaningless until meaning is imposed on it.  In DNA, GCC codes for alanine, an amino acid.  GCC is not alanine, does not look like alanine, does not smell like alanine, and means nothing by itself.  But DNA and transfer RNA and the ribosome have a language convention, so that when messenger RNA carries a GCC message from the DNA, the ribosome knows to put alanine on the growing protein chain.  And then a host of other enzymes make sure it didn’t make a typo!  This is amazing!  Here we have a real language coding and translation system in nature that bears the imprint of a mind.  This fact is death to all concepts of chemical evolution.  That is why it is not progress for these Japanese researchers to tell us how they have assembled a self-replicating hypercycle out of already information-rich ingredients.  By failing to explain the origin of the key ingredient, information, evolutionary theories are committing a fundamental fallacy; they are building their bridges by their own intelligent design, and then turning around and asking us to believe nature did it without a mind, guidance, or the will to do it.  That is not better than saying God did it; it is blind faith in miracles with no miracle worker around.
Footnote: does Intelligent Design thinking grind experimental science to a halt?  No way.  Look at history: it was belief in design that motivated Kepler, Newton, Boyle, Maxwell and most other great founders of science to figure out nature’s designs.  It recently motivated Roderick MacKinnon to figure out the amazing design of the potassium channel in the cell membrane.  Design thinking is good for science.  It will put an end to the pantheistic myth that nature works miracles without mind.  If information is a fundamental entity of the universe, a science that ignores it cannot hope to succeed.  But scientists with a motivation like that of James Clerk Maxwell will joyfully pursue science to gain an understanding of the omnipotent Mind that left His imprint on all of creation.
Next headline on: Evolutionary Theory. • Next headline on: Origin of Life. • Next headline on: Intelligent Design.
Chuck Colson Encourages Viewers to Ask PBS to Air Intelligent Design Documentary   05/21/2002
In his daily
BreakPoint radio feature for May 21, Chuck Colson spoke highly of the new film Unlocking the Mystery of Life (March 2002), and suggested viewers call their local PBS station to air it alongside the PBS Evolution series, that is in reruns this month.  He said, “It’s just basic intellectual fairness–and smart programming to boot!”
This film is available on our products page, in many local Christian bookstores, and from Illustra Media.  A definitive and beautifully-edited documentary on the intelligent design arguments, we cannot recommend it too highly.  Dr. John Morris, President of ICR, said this past weekend that he is not typically an emotional guy, but when he first watched Unlocking the Mystery of Life, he jumped out of his chair and shouted “Glory!”  He called it the best film he had ever seen on the evidence for design and complexity of the cell.  “It is wonderful – it is wonderful!” he said.
Next headline on: Movies. • Next headline on: Intelligent Design.
Home Schoolers Dig Up Intact Allosaurus   05/21/2002
According to
WorldNetDaily, a scientific expedition led by a creationist organization with home school student volunteers has dug up a rare 22-foot long allosaurus skeleton, with all its bones intact, in northwest Colorado.  The fossil shows evidence of flood deposition, according to the team.  Nearby a 100-foot sauropod has been found, possibly an ultrasaurus, composing a good-sized hill.  The rich fossil site is owned by a Christian home schooling couple committed to Biblical creationism.  They are giving creationist paleontologist their turn at discovery in a field long dominated by evolutionists.  Another report on this discovery can be found on ScienceNewsWeek, which quotes a paleontologist saying this is a very rare and valuable find.
Outrageous!  That kids and Christians and creationists should be allowed to touch these priceless specimens!  Why, they might not understand how old these dinosaurs are and how they fit into evolutionary history!  Relax, evolutionists.  Fossils are not your exclusive property.  We can separate technique from interpretation, and the bones are being carefully excavated and documented by trained paleontologists.  The data will be carefully preserved and displayed; you can write up your own interpretation if you wish.  As long they follow high standards of excavation, give kids a chance to find a dinosaur bone.  They’re going to learn a lot, and hear all the evidence.  What a great science project for the next science fair!  Think of all the envious kids gawking at the display of a 22 foot allosaurus with a skull a yard long.  Cool!
Next headline on: Dinosaurs. • Next headline on: Fossils. • Next headline on: Schools.
Noted Evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould Dies   05/20/2002
One of the most well-known and controversial of evolutionists, Stephen Jay Gould, died of cancer today, announced
CNN.  Gould, paleontologist at Harvard, was a prolific writer and popularizer of science.  He was simultaneously a thorn in the sides of neo-Darwinists, whom he criticized vehemently while promoting his own theory of punctuated equilibria, while at the same time united with them in fervent opposition to creationists.
Our sympathies to the family of Gould.  He was an excellent and engaging writer, often stepping on the toes of his colleagues while being boldly forthright in his criticism of unsubstantiated evolutionary beliefs like gradualism, racism, eugenics, and the recapitulation theory.  Creationists often enjoyed the fight from the sidelines, as Gould made enemies with the gradualists like Richard Dawkins and pointed out the holes in their thinking, especially the systematic gaps in the fossil record, which he called the “trade secret of paleontology.”  The gradualists would respond by lambasting his punctuated equilibria hypothesis as an ad hoc suggestion without evidence or mechanism.  Nevertheless, they were united in their intolerance of creationism.  Gould was incensed at creationists who used his arguments against gradualism as arguments against evolution (see our May 3 entry), to which creationists responded that facts are facts no matter who says them, and criticisms are especially noteworthy when coming from an insider. 
CNN is incorrect in speaking of his “participation in public debates with creation scientists” – Gould engaged in numerous one-way polemics against creation scientists but refused repeatedly to stand eye-to-eye with Duane Gish and others on stage before a live audience or in writing.  As a Marxist, Gould proposed keeping religion and natural science into non-overlapping magisteria.  Phillip Johnson and others responded that such a false dichotomy guaranteed evolutionists an unopposed monopoly over all knowledge.
We grieve for anyone who suffered terminal cancer.  Gould’s trenchant thinking will be missed.  We grieve most of all, however, that an intelligent person would devote his life to a doomed theory, and face a godless eternity.
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory.
Life Didn’t Begin in Hot Springs   05/20/2002
Life was cool or lukewarm when it emerged, says
Science Now, summarizing a report in the May 16 Nature.  The French team compared RNA sequences with a computer looking for evolutionary ancestry, and did not see hyperthermophiles as likely candidates.  A theory for the origin of life around deep-sea hydrothermal vents or in hot springs became popular 20 years ago, but “The new study swings the pendulum back the other way, [Martin] Embley [Natural History Museum of London] says: ‘This is another piece of evidence that there are problems with the classic thermophile RNA tree.’”  The researchers say, “If our finding is verified, the origin of Bacteria should be seriously reconsidered.”
What this means is that the options for those believing in spontaneous generation are narrowing again.  We’ve had years of Discovery Channel documentaries with colorful images of deep sea vents and hot springs touted as the nurseries of life, but now that is unlikely.  Recently we saw that salt water is not the nursery, either, but more like the slaughterhouse.  Basically, all the old images you saw about primordial soup are wrong.  Astrobiologists are so desperate, they are looking to asteroids and comets bringing biological molecules to earth (where they will fall apart anyway).  We have some ballads for those who trust in such things.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
The Universe Computed Life   05/20/2002
If the universe is a big computer, it might have computed life, speculates
Science Now.  Mathematician Seth Lloyd of MIT calculated the computational capacity of the universe.  According to the summary of his paper to be published in Physical Review Letters, “the universe might be a gigantic computer of sorts and the numbers might represent the calculations it has done so far.  If the universe is a computer, it might be programmed by random quantum fluctuations, Lloyd says, and that might explain complex phenomenon such as life.”
This is really, really, really stupid.  “If this, then maybe this, they maybe this...” when the whole presupposition is preposterous.  This belief is visualizing shapes in the clouds, seeing a face that looks like Webster, and making the cloud the author of the dictionary.  It is ancient idolatry and animism dressed up in third millennium garb.
Next dumb story.
“Since it is assumed that this matter is increate and eternal . . . it must have produced, from its own resources, everything that has appeared in the universe, both life and thought.
The total amorphous mass has been able to organize itself, to become animated and to endow itself with consciousness and thought.  It is clear that if matter is to be looked at in this way it has to be credited with very great resources, great wisdom and positive genius, since great genius was needed for the independent invention of the large molecules which are part of the makeup of any living creature, however humble, as well as for the invention of the major functional systems that characterize higher forms of life - the digestive, circulatory, reproductive and nervous systems.” (Dr. Claude Tresmontant, Réalités, Paris, April 1967, p.45, cited in Evolution: Possible or Impossible? by James F. Coppedge, p. 122.)
Proteins Climb Mountains   05/20/2002
Scientists at Caltech have found that proteins climb an energy mountain to get home. 
Nature Science Update describes how a protein chain begins as a string of amino acids, but must go through a complicated folding process that it calls “one of biology’s fundamental mysteries.”  The scientists measured the “energy landscape” in the folding process.  To get to its “native fold,” in which it is properly folded and functional, it must climb an energy mountain and settle in just the right valley on the other side.  On the way, there are several pitfalls that the protein must avoid or else it becomes a useless tangle.  Their research is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
This is amazing.  It bears directly on the old philosophical question of necessity vs contingency: are biological processes inevitable results of the laws of nature (necessity), or unlikely consequences out of a host of possibilities (contingency)?  It appears the latter is true in this case.  The protein chain does not do what just comes naturally.  It must be guided against its natural tendencies to get to the proper shape.  Without the proper shape, it is useless or even dangerous. 
Protein folding is one of the most complicated mathematical problems in biology, yet the cell performs it flawlessly countless times a day in fractions of a second.  This can happen only with the aid of a suite of chaperone enzymes guided by instructions, which themselves were built by other guided processes.  The whole apparatus screams for intelligent design, not chance and necessity.  Again, we see in this case, as more facts are known, Nature and the other scientific journals are remarkably silent about how these intricate guided systems could have evolved.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry. • Next headline on: Intelligent Design. • Next amazing story.
British Scientists Demand End to Darwin Monopoly   05/17/2002
CNN reports from London that “a group of 30 scientists has written to the British Department of Education, arguing that scientific study into the origins of man should not be limited to Darwin’s theory of evolution.  The group – including eminent scientists in biology, physics, geology and chemistry – is calling for active debate in the country’s schools.”  The letter was triggered by the media furor over Emmanuel College inviting a creation speaker, which angered pro-evolution advocates into calling for an examination into its teaching policies, even though the private college had recently received high marks for excellence.  Andrew McIntosh, professor at Leeds University and one of the signers (see a quote by him on the masthead of this page) said, “Let there be open debate in the schools and universities of England.”
Hear, hear!  This is another indication of cracks in the Darwinian edifice.  Most likely, this letter will be ignored and shoved aside by the Board, and the pro-Darwin forces will ridicule and lambaste it in the press, but for how much longer?  How long can the Darwin-only party fail to provide answers for the origin of life, fail to provide answers for the complexity of life, base their theory on just-so stories, then turn around and argue that no alternatives are allowed?  How much longer can they justify suppressing evidence that undermines their monopoly?  How much longer will the public buy the line that science rules out anything but methodological naturalism, or that the only proponents of intelligent design are kooks and pseudoscientists?  Not for long, we think.  (See our next headline for a good example of amazing design inexplicable by evolution.)  The Berlin wall between materialism and intelligent design is poised for a demolition celebration by the people, and you know what side of the wall the totalitarians are on; they’re the ones with the furrowed brows who erected the wall in the first place.
See also Discovery Institute’s list of 100 Scientists who signed a statement saying, “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutations and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.  Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”
Next headline on: Darwinism. • Next headline on: Politics. • Next headline on: Intelligent Design.
DNA Has Its Own Immune System: RNA   05/17/2002
The
May 17 issue of Science has a special Viewpoint feature about the RNA library, or RNome (the RNA counterpart of the genome).  We all know about DNA and proteins; RNA was long thought to be just the messenger/translator between the two.  Scientists have increasingly found RNA molecules, however, to perform many crucial functions including signalling and expressing genes. 
  • Gary Riddihough introduces the new concept of the RNome and its multi-faceted role in many vital functions, such as protecting DNA from invasion. 
  • Gisela Storz describes an “expanding universe” of non-coding RNAs, including micro-RNAs (sequences of 20-22 bases), with a multitude of functions that we are just beginning to understand. 
  • Ronald Plasterk describes RNA as the genome’s immune system, protecting DNA from viral attack and damage.
  • Phillip Zamore says that RNA “reflect an elaborate cellular apparatus that eliminates abundant but defective messenger RNAs and defends against molecular parasites such as transposons and viruses.” 
  • Paul Ahlquist discusses how RNA can silence genes, which makes it a central player in gene expression.
  • A team of scientists at Rockefeller University has elucidated the core structure of RNA polymerase at high resolution.  RNA polymerase is a chief molecular machine involved in transcription of DNA.  It makes a copy of a gene from a DNA molecule that can be ferried by messenger RNA to a ribosome, where transfer RNA assembles the amino acids based on the coded sequence into a protein machine.  The researchers show RNA polymerase to be a complex system with multiple roles and moving parts, assisted by a suite of other protein machines.  They say it is “conserved in structure and function among all cellular organisms,” from bacteria to man.
We thought the DNA genome itself was enough to make people stand in awe of the Creator, but then came the proteome, and now the RNome.  This adds two more levels of complexity to what was already incredible, and should triple our awe.  Imagine hundreds of thousands of finely-crafted parts, all interacting together, performing thousands of complicated functions with precision and split-second timing, and you begin to get an idea of what goes on in every cell of your body, and in the tiniest microbe in a warm little pond.  Most of these authors never mention evolution once.  Those that do speak in glittering generalities about which groups of organisms have this system or that, but never do they give a detailed description of how this system could have arisen in small steps, each step providing an survival advantage, when none of these complex molecules will form naturally without coded instructions and machines to build them.  Surely biochemistry will spell the death of Darwinism; it’s only a matter of time.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry. • Next amazing story.
Asteroid Crash Accelerated Rise of Large Dinosaurs   05/17/2002
Big rocks slamming into earth not only kill things, they build them, according to a team of researchers writing in the
May 16 Science.  They think an impact at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary led to the rise of the really big lizards.  The evidence is based on footprint counts and a “modest” iridium anomaly.  Richard Kerr in his summary indicates that not all scientists are convinced.  The slight iridium excess at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary could have been from volcanos or geochemical processes, not an asteroid.  Nevertheless, the story made the CBS radio news, and other popular outlets like National Geographic jumped on the story, saying, “It may well be that catastrophic events have a far more profound effect in the shaping of life than people had previously thought.”  See also: Nature Science Update.
Evolution is the modern Phoenix myth.  Out of disaster rises new and improved life.  Try it as a science project.
This epic tale is built on footprints, an increase in fern spores, and a tiny measurement of one element (just a few parts per trillion of iridium).  The rocks are dated by the types of spores they contain, a method based on evolutionary assumptions, so circular reasoning is mixed up in the timeline.  The tale itself cannot be observed nor repeated.  Too much faith is invested in evolutionists’ ability to weave stories out of a miniscule amount of evidence.
Next headline on: Dinosaurs. • Next dumb story.
How Insect Heads Evolved   05/16/2002
In the
May 16 issue of Nature, paleontologist Graham E. Budd from Uppsala University in Sweden has written a paper called, “A palaeontological solution to the arthropod head problem.”  He begins with a statement of the problem: “The composition of the arthropod head has been one of the most controversial topics in zoology, with a large number of theories being proposed to account for it over the last century.  Although fossils have been recognized as being of potential importance in resolving the issue, a lack of consensus over their systematics has obscured their contribution.”  By analyzing Cambrian fossils from the Burgess Shale and elsewhere, Budd proposes a family tree he claims ties the arthropods, chelicerates and onycophorans together.  But problems remain.  He notes in closing, “As the mouth started terminal within the clade (thus supporting the Ecdysozoa concept), any deep pre-oral structure would have to have migrated behind the mouth before the origin of the Ecdysozoa, and then remigrated anteriorly again when the mouth became ventralized.  Such a structure has yet to be identified. ... This analysis brings fresh insight into, but does not resolve, the continuing problem presented by the chelicerate chelicera....”  He presents several possibilities of which appendages should be considered homologous.
Software engineers have coined the satirical term vaporware to describe software products that are marketed but not yet built.  The sales department is out there at the customer site crowing about the wonderful features the new product has (and demonstrating a scripted front-end facade without the processing engine behind it), while the poor programmers are back at the home office scratching their heads on how to write the code.  The “product” may have started as a pipe dream, and consist of nothing more than a flowchart of putative subroutines that have not even been written.  There may be major hurdles, dependencies on other technologies not yet invented, algorithms not yet developed, concepts not fully understood, and doubts whether solutions are even possible.  The software engineers may not even know how to begin.
Evolution is like vaporware.  Here it is supposed to explain so much, and tie together all these disparate phenomena, but when you get into the details, you find excuses and gaping holes.  It’s as if looking into the code of a highly-advertised software package and finding the comment “to be developed” here, there and everywhere.  This paper is a good example.  The title sounds impressive: “A palaeontological solution to the arthropod head problem.”  But wade through the jargon and read the paper, and nothing solid is found: just a series of maybes and perhapses and proposed solutions that breed new problems.  And we are told that this has been “one of the most controversial topics in zoology, with a large number of theories being proposed to account for it over the last century,” so it is not a matter of just giving the programming staff a little more time to deliver the product.  Where is the solution?  There is none!  It’s all promise without performance.  The data (fossils and living arthropods) show a collection of complex creatures, each fully developed and adapted to its environment, with no necessary and obvious family ancestry tying them together.  There are more gaps than links.  This scientist would have us believe mouth parts migrated backward and then forward.  Have you seen all the complex mouth parts in a grasshopper or honeybee?  What about all the simultaneous functions that go with the mouth parts: nerves, muscles, brain changes, digestive functions, sensory feedback, and much more?  Deciding what segment should have the mouth is the easy part; these are the nitty-gritty details of hardware and software that Darwinism has not the resources to design.
Like vaporware, evolution is being sold with fanfare and slick marketing to students and the public.  Instead of working software, there is only computer graphics and artwork and slogans.  Come with us here at Creation-Evolution Headlines behind the scenes at Darwin & Co. and observe the programmers sweating bullets.
Next headline on: Bugs. • Next headline on: Fossils. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Mendel Museum Laundered of Religion   05/15/2002
“Science has triumphed over religion in an argument over an exhibition about Gregor Mendel, the Augustine monk who discovered the laws of heredity,” reports
Nature, May 16 in the News in Brief section.  “The current abbot had asked that the religious background to Mendel’s life and work form part of the exhibition (see Nature 410, 6; 2001), but dropped this request after the abbey agreed to host annual workshops on bioethics.”  The scene is the Brno monastery in the Czech Republic, home of the Mendelianum museum and the place where Gregor Mendel conducted his epochal experiments on peas.  The current abbot was unhappy with the exhibit designers, according to the March 1, 2001 news item in Nature, “because their museum places too much emphasis on the scientific aspects of Mendel’s life.  The abbot, they say, wants a new exhibition of Mendel’s life that will reflect his religious beliefs as well as his scientific interests.”  Apparently he gave a year for the museum committee to come up with a proposal, and when they stalled and he turned up the heat, they mounted a “disinformation campaign” against him.  Abbott Lukas Evzen Martinec was upset not only about the “low religious content” of the display, but also that “the museum’s owners have not uncovered religious motifs that were hidden during the communist days.”  Apparently Martinec has now compromised and agreed to keep Mendel’s religion out of the exhibit.  Mendel will be remembered as scientist, not monk.
We don’t need Stalin and Kruschev to turn churches into museums of atheism any more; we have the scientific establishment to carry on the work of the Ministry of Truth.  Mendel’s faith in God as Creator was a prime motivation for his rigorous, groundbreaking work that is not only the foundation of genetics, but a model of experimental method.  How can this part of his character be erased without doing a great injustice to his legacy?  What is so awful about Christian faith that it must be expunged from anything portrayed as scientific?  Many of the greatest scientists through history were Christians and creationists.  It is a Big Lie to turn them into proponents of materialist philosophy.  Nature should be embarrassed to portray this as a triumph of science over religion, perpetuating a false dichotomy and supporting the whitewashing of history.
Next dumb story.
Mars Meteorite Is Dead   05/15/2002
ALH84001 has fallen from grace, according to a report in
Space.ComEd Scott and David Barber were able to provide a natural process for the creation of the magnetites that believers had claimed was a biological signature.  They claim also that the magnetites are oriented with other nonbiological components of the rock, and must have formed at the same time, probably during impact on the surface.  So was the hubbub over life in the Mars rock a waste of time?  One of the researchers, Ed Scott, replied, “You could argue that it has been a major stimulus in helping to integrate geology and biology in the planetary sciences.  It’s no longer okay to focus only on the living or the non-living.  We have discovered exciting new connections on the Earth and on Mars.  It is not enough to address the simple question ‘are we alone?’  We have to understand more complex questions that lend a new perspective to planetary science.  Why is Earth so different from Mars and Venus?  How special is the Earth?  How common are Earth-like planets?”
These questions are all adequately answered by Isaiah 45:18, but let them search.  It’s a bonanza for the space program, and gives us a lot of fun material to report on.
Next headline on: Mars.
Hubble “Pillars of Creation” Eroding Fast   05/15/2002
The 1995
“Pillars of Creation” in the Eagle Nebula was one of the most popular photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.  Its long narrow pillars of gas were said to be the nursery for many new stars.  New images with the NICMOS infrared camera, however, show that the gas is eroding quickly, and any stars being formed are only at a few of the tips.  In a million years (less than a hundredth of one percent of the assumed age of the universe) the nebula would be gone, says the BBC News.  It claims that the Orion Nebula, however, is actively forming many stars.
The Eagle Nebula is beautiful, but it shows destructive processes at work, not creative processes.  You can’t always believe the initial interpretations put forth in the press release.
Next headline on: Stars. • Next headline on: Dating Methods.
Governor Apologizes to Eugenics Victims   05/14/2002
According to Dr. David A. DeWitt writing for
Answers in Genesis, Governor Mark Warner of Virginia on May 2 apologized to the 20,000 who were sterilized against their will as part of eugenics programs to keep those designated as unfit from reproducing.  DeWitt argues that the eugenics program was motivated by Darwinism, the belief that the human race would advance by keeping out the unfit.  Carl Wieland in a reprint from Creation magazine explains the background of the Lynchburg experiments, in which victims were lied to “for their own good” by perpetrators and a test Supreme Court case was built on a fabrication.
Ideas have consequences.  You will know them by their fruits.  Have we learned from history?  The same evolutionary philosophy is pushing cloning, stem-cell research, designer babies and sexual selection.  Who is being lied to now, “for their own good”?
Next headline on: Politics. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
New Zogby Poll Shows Ohioans Support Intelligent Design   05/14/2002
In his
Weekly Wedge Update for May 14, Mark Hartwig points to a new Zogby International Poll that finds that 78% of Ohio residents agree with the statement, “When Darwin’s theory of evolution is taught in school, students should also be able to learn about scientific evidence that points to an intelligent design of life.”  Only 10% indicated “strongly disagree” with the statement.  The poll was commissioned by the Discovery Institute.
We do not place undue value on polls, since truth is not determined by majority vote, and since polls can be influenced by factors difficult to quantify, such as the tone of voice of the questioner, the stress level of the respondent, lack of knowledge of the subject, perceptions created by the media, etc.  But this poll is in line with others, including national polls, and the results are fairly consistent from year to year.  It is remarkable that despite intense indoctrination for decades, the public is not buying the line that Darwinism should have sole mention in the schools.  The Darwin-only party must be running scared with the Ohio school board slated to vote this year on whether to allow alternatives to evolution in the state’s public schools.  Many parents, though, are probably elated.
Understand that even if alternatives are allowed, this is only a science framework.  No teacher will be forbidden to teach evolution (forbidding evolution is not even open for discussion), no religion will be brought into the science classroom, and no teacher will have to teach creation against his or her will.  It just opens the door for teachers to explain why this is controversial and expose students to the arguments on both sides, so that they can learn how to think, not what to think.  Who could be against that?  Well, about 10%.
Next headline on: Intelligent Design. • Next headline on: Schools.
PBS Evolution Series Re-Airs Starting This Week   05/14/2002
The eight-hour PBS series Evolution that premiered last September, two weeks after the terrorist attacks, is slated to run one segment a week this month starting May 14-17 (
check local listings).  Mark Hartwig in his Weekly Wedge Update says the ratings “tanked” last time, but prospects are not much better this time around.  Apparently, many local stations are airing the series in the dead of night, for example 10:00 p.m. in Los Angeles. 
See our review of the series from last time, and also the Discovery Institute analysis, the Access Research Network coverage, and Answers in Genesis reviews.  The AIG site also reviews the current TV miniseries Dinotopia.
Next headline on: Movies.
Another DNA-Mending Protein Discovered   05/14/2002
Scientific American reports on a research paper that identified a protein named ATR as able to mend DNA damaged by ultraviolet light.  The researchers explain, “ATR appears to act as a switch that starts the repair process and also stops cells from proliferating while they are being repaired.”
This and the following story are two more data points to prove the Law of Creation-Evolution Headlines, which states that “Evolutionary speculation is inversely proportional to the raw data available for analysis.”  This story begins, “Physicians have long marveled at the body’s ability to heal itself,” and proceeds to describe, without a hint of evolutionary speculation, empirical observations of a complex system that bears the hallmarks of intelligent design.  The next story is all evolutionary speculation with no data.
Next headline on: The Cell.
How Abundant Is Life in the Universe?   05/14/2002
Two physicists from Australia are optimistic that life is common in space, reports
Nature Science Update.  They feel this way because, according to current thinking, life evolved quickly on the earth – in only half a billion years.  “Charles Lineweaver and Tamara Davis of the University of New South Wales in Sydney argue that, despite our sample of habitable planets being but one, we are not as ignorant about life elsewhere as it might seem,” the report says.
Space.Com picked up the theme on May 23 that 1 in 3 planets might have life.  An upcoming publication in the new journal Astrobiology uses the same argument, that since unlikely events are rare, and life formed early on the earth, it must not be that unlikely.
Totally unjustified speculation.  There is no basis for calculation; there is no data.  You cannot build a statistical case on a sample of one!  Moreover, they just assume life evolved here, so the whole argument is circular.  This is the kind of nonsense that gets published uncritically by an establishment that cannot face the fact that complex specified information does not arise without intelligence.  Name one example, anywhere!  If you found a watch in the woods, would you be justified in speculating that all forests have watches, and that they arose spontaneously half a billion years after the forest formed?
Nature inserted a tiny bit of sense into their story:
“Several unknowns might demolish the researchers’ statistical argument.  For example, life may have to develop rapidly if it is to develop at all.  Then we are back to knowing nothing from our sample of one.  Or Earth may be more finely tuned to nurturing life than we think - a truly habitable planet may have to be not just similar to Earth but virtually identical.
But even this assumes evolution and falls woefully short of a critical evaluation that should characterize scientific journal.
The physicists invoke the famous Drake Equation, plugging in hypothetical values for the variables that are incapable of being known.  No less than Stanley Miller himself commented wryly that any values you want to plug in can be considered as valid as anyone else’s.  Their calculation is worthless; this is just grandstanding and headline grabbing.  Even though Ken Nealson is considered a founder of the fledgling field of astrobiology (the science without data), we appreciate his candor about chemical evolutionists when he said, “Nobody understands the origin of life.  If they say they do, they are probably trying to fool you.”
Next headline on: Origin of Life. • Next dumb story.
College Denied Accreditation for Stance on Creation   05/13/2002
Conservative News Service reports that Patrick Henry College, a conservative college in Virginia, was denied accreditation by the American Academy for Liberal Education.  Part of the decision was its insistence that faculty members, including those in the science department, adhere to the Genesis account of creation, even though they are free to teach evolution.  The president of the college accuses the accreditation board of viewpoint discrimination and inconsistent standards of freedom of thought.  The board denies that it rejected the school based on its creationist beliefs, saying, “We have religious schools that are members of our organization that teach creationism, but they teach it in the theology department; they don’t teach it in the science department.”
Here we have a strange thing, where freedom of thought and open inquiry are supposed to the highest virtues, yet a college’s right to teach what it stands for (even though they present all sides) is forbidden.  Let’s be fair and apply the same standard to all the state universities in the country, in which you can teach the wildest forms of Marxism or sexual perversion or pagan mythology but risk censure, hate speech and removal if you dare to go against the politically-correct straitjacket of thought.  Restricting creation“ism” (why don’t they be consistent here and call the opposing view evolutionism) to theology, not science, is a tacit statement that it is subjective and irrelevant to the real world.  Then be fair and call evolutionism the same, because evolutionism is not only subjective, it is contrary to observable scientific laws, and has never been observed.  If you don’t accept this conclusion, you haven’t been reading Creation-Evolution Headlines.
Apparently all viewpoints are equal, but some are more equal than others.  We wonder if the students and faculty of Patrick Henry College are getting to the point of shouting, Give me liberty, or give me death!
Next headline on: Schools.
More People Report “No Religion” – But What Does It Mean?   05/13/2002
The 1990s saw a steep rise (from 7% to 14%) in respondents reporting “no religious preference,” say Berkeley sociologists whose research is described in
EurekAlert.  Yet analysis of the responses shows it is not due to rising skepticism or atheism, since the same respondents report believing in God, prayer and the afterlife.  The sociologists believe it is tied to increasing politicization of organized religion.  The trend was largest among liberals and moderates.  An increasing number were found to be falling away from the religion of their parents, or were found to have had no religious upbringing.
It is always risky to try to interpret statistics like this, since there are so many variables.  But one has to wonder if the liberal churches that embrace evolution are causing their young people to see religion as less and less relevant to the real world.
“Organized religion” is one of those meaningless labels, such a mixed bag of good, bad and ugly that the concept is a phantom target for critics of “religion.”  The New Testament teaches that the church is more an organism than an organization, but needs leadership and structure to fulfill its mission.  It is God Himself who equips and calls the leaders.  Followers of Jesus Christ, therefore, are exhorted to be a part of the body of believers for edification and instruction and service.  The Bible teaches we are individually responsible to God to believe, but as believers we are not to be loners.
“Politicization” is a similar nebulous concept that signifies nothing until it is defined or given specific examples.  Jesus taught his followers that they were to be the salt of the earth and light of the world, which implies involvement in and impact on society, but does that mean supporting a particular political candidate?  We must avoid simplistic answers in applying these principles, and in interpreting statistics.
For an eye-opening example of the church needing to exercise responsibility to society (that might overlap into “politics”), read this chilling account by Carl Wieland about the dark history of eugenics.
Next headline on: Politics.
Earth’s Storm Windows IMAGE’d in Action   05/10/2002
NASA’s new
IMAGE spacecraft (launched March 2000) has learned some new things about the upper ionosphere, a tenuous belt of charged particles that protects us from solar radiation.  Traveling at 450 miles per second, charged particles from the sun (the solar wind) would impact our atmosphere directly if earth had no magnetic field, and gradually erode it away.  Fortunately, most of the harmful radiation is diverted around the earth by the magnetic field, but it still sets up electric currents of a trillion watts into our magnetosphere.  The IMAGE spacecraft has learned that the upper ionosphere, like a heat shield, throws off some of its own charged oxygen atoms immediately during solar storms, absorbing some of the sun’s fierce energy.  These ejected particles get trapped by earth’s magnetic field and form a billion-degree plasma around the planet.  Behind the earth, the magnetic field stretches into a long magnetotail, that sometimes snaps back some of these charged particles up to 2500 miles per second.  Some of these flow down magnetic field lines at the poles, contributing to the northern lights.  During a space storm, our ionosphere can give up several hundred tons of material as it protects the biosphere down below.  This process is explained and illustrated with still images and animations at the NASA press release.  You can monitor the “space weather” with its solar storms at SpaceWeather.com.
The warm summer sun, seen from a beach or resort, seems so pleasant and peaceful.  But in reality it is like a machine gunner aiming its weapons of terror right at us.  If our planet did not deploy its homeland security forces, we would be cooked.  Mars may have had a thicker atmosphere in the past, but lacking a global magnetic field, now has only 1% of earth’s atmospheric shield, and is thereby subjected to high levels of radiation that will make future manned visits dangerous (see our March 18 headline about Mars Odyssey’s new measurements of the radiation environment).  Venus has a very thick atmosphere to protect itself, but at a price: the surface is nearly 900 degrees F.  Only on earth are all the factors just right.  Earth’s amazing ionosphere, working in concert with the magnetic field, acts like a self-regulating, buffering storm window, that shields us from violence while allowing us to see the twinkling stars at night.  It is just one of dozens of “coincidences” that make life possible on the most beautiful place in the universe we know.
Next headline on: Solar System. • Next amazing story.
Animal Tracks a Billion Years Old, Researchers Claim   05/10/2002
Squiggly tracks made possibly by some unknown multicellular organism have been found in Australia, claim Aussie researchers publishing in the
May 10 issue of Science.  They say, “Although nonbiological origins for the discoidal impressions cannot be completely discounted, the structures resembling trace fossils clearly have a biological origin and suggest the presence of vermiform, mucus-producing, motile organisms.”  Yet the rocks they’re in they dated at 1.2 to 2 billion years old.  It had better be at the low end of the range, says one of the researchers; “It would make it easier for me to sleep at night.”  The previous record for a multicellular fossil was alleged at 600 million years. 
See this summary and picture in Nature Science Update.
Evolutionists keep shooting themselves in the foot by trying to set records.  Within their own thinking, this puts the rise of multicellular organisms earlier and earlier, not giving evolution enough time.  But most likely, they’re just seeing things.  Lots of rocks have squiggly lines.  The raw data do not justify the interpretation.
Next headline on: Fossils.
The Eye: Best of All Possible Optics?   05/09/2002
The eye has a problem: different wavelengths focus differently.  Blue light, with a shorter wavelength, is more sensitive to longitudinal and transverse chromatic aberration than red.  With one lens, and one retina, how does the eye achieve good focus across all wavelengths?  How does it avoid contrast reversal when scanning across a scene?  Scientists have thought that the blue-sensitive cones used macular pigment to selectively absorb short wavelengths to offset the effects of aberration.  But now, writing in the
May 9 Nature, four optical experts from Spain and Massachusetts have calculated and measured the optical quality of real eyes, and found that blue light is not as blurred as previously thought.  For one thing, the blue-sensitive cones in the retina have a narrower bandwidth that limits the blurring, and the red and green sensitive cones have bandwidth that overlaps somewhat.  The scientists did experiments with human subjects and also took into account monochromatic aberration across the full spectrum of visible light and the spatial density of the different cones across the retina.  They found that, although there were trade-offs and compromises, all the cones, working together, achieve the optimum response with minimum aberration:
It has been widely assumed that chromatic defocus from the eye’s optics degrades the retinal image of short-wavelength light.  But this assumption has not previously been tested in a manner that takes into account all of the eye’s optical aberrations, measured at multiple wavelengths.  We have shown that there is actually little variability in the eye’s image quality, as quantified by MTF [modulation transfer function, a measure of image contrast quality], across the visible spectrum.  Wave aberrations cause the visual system to sacrifice resolution at a single wavelength but allow it to gain approximate constancy in spatial sensitivity across the spectrum.  This constancy might provide an even more effective solution to the problems of chromatic blur than could be attained by attenuation and sparse sampling of short-wavelength light in an eye with perfect optics.
(emphasis added).  Their paper is entitled, “Imperfect optics may be the eye’s defence against chromatic blur.”  They also suspect that macular pigment, not therefore needed to improve optical quality, may instead be present to help protect the eye from high-wavelength damage.
This is just one example of the kind of detail in engineering the body performs so effortlessly, that we take for granted.  In evolutionary terms, every little improvement would be caused by accident, and would have to benefit survival so much that all without the accident die.  Clearly, intelligent design is the superior explanation.  Here we see the interesting design approach that, given the physical constraints of the laws of electromagnetic radiation, designing an apparent “imperfection” can actually lead to greater overall performance!  How did the eye figure that out?
Next headline on: Human Body. • Next amazing story.
Whale Evolution Hinged on Inner Ear Shrinkage   05/09/2002
Even before the publication in
Nature May 10 came out, the news media like the BBC News were jumping on a story about whale’s ears and evolution.  Scientific American explains that “computed tomography” of the semicircular canals in fossil whale skulls indicates they shrunk rapidly (5 million years) while the rest of the skeleton took 10 million years to go from dog-like animal to blue whale.  Once the semicircular canals, which are essential for balance on land but presumably less so in water, shrank, they would have rendered the animal useless on land, so this must have marked a point of no return.
The paper is another by Hans Thewissen, one of the staunchest advocates of whale evolution.  We want to see the raw data on which this tale of a whale rests.  When you sweep away the cobwebs of storytelling, not much remains.  Since the delicate soft tissues of semicircular canals would likely not fossilize, how much of their size and shape is inferred?  How did they identify the fossil?  How did they date it?  How much of the story was force-fit into the theory of whale evolution?  How do they know the effect of canal size on the actual vertigo experienced by a whale?  Why would a walking mammal want to live in the water the same time its semicircular canals shrunk by a mutation?
The alleged fossil series is largely based on imagination, piecing together several different skeletons into a presumed evolutionary story.  We’ve seen this before, with the horse, for instance.  Generations of students were given neat diagrams of horse evolution in textbooks, but then the truth came out: that the alleged ancestors lived on different continents and some were contemporaneous.  Now, the explanation is that the evolutionary history of the horse is more like a branching bush than a tree.  If you sweep away all evolutionary assumptions out of this latest story, you find no evolutionary evidence.  It is unwarranted to justify a theory on such flimsy data.
In actuality, the gaps tell more than the links, and even within their own paradigm.  Now they have to explain how dog-size animals evolved into blue whales in a much shorter time than they earlier believed.  The ear is just a tiny part of a much bigger tale that must be told: the evolution of sonar, navigation in the dark, breathing from the mouth to a blowhole on the back, powerful fins and tail flippers, and much, much more.  All this had to happen, by chance mutations, within 10 million years, a “mere blink of evolution,” as the BBC calls it.
This story teaches us two morals about bluffing evolutionary headlines: (1) always look for the raw data, and (2) always look for the new problems the claim creates.
Next headline on: Mammals. • Next headline on: Fossils. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Mark Hartwig Carries Torch of the Weekly Wedge Update   05/08/2002
Taking over from
Phillip Johnson, Mark Hartwig is continuing the Weekly Wedge Update that reports on Intelligent Design news and issues.  His first entry for May 5 analyzes anti-creationist Lawrence Krauss’s recent tirade against creationist ‘pseudoscience”.
Next headline on: Intelligent Design.
Oxford Scientists Debunk Evolutionary Theory of Altruism   05/07/2002
The kin-selection theory by William Hamilton in 1963 is “often regarded as one of the most (or even the most) important evolutionary insights of the recently finished century” by Darwinists, purporting to explain altruism: why one animal will sacrifice itself for the good of the group.  Hamilton devised a formula that related how an individual’s “altruistic” behavior could affect the fitness of the population and therefore be preserved genetically; basically, the benefit to the receiver of the altruism (reproductive success) exceeded the cost to the giver.  Theories of sex-ratio conflicts were used to explain the evolution of colonial insects like ants and bees that control the reproduction of caste members (workers, queens) to affect the fitness of the colony.  Many evolutionists regarded these ideas as compatible and complementary.  But now, in a paper entitled, “Sex-ratio conflicts, kin selection and the evolution of altruism,” in the May 7 online preprints of the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Oxford zoologists Wladimir J. Alonso and Cynthia Schuck-Paim have shown Hamilton’s Rule and kin selection theories, and the examples cited to illustrated them, to be untested, untestable, vague, self-contradictory and circular.  The theories provide no basis for the encoding of genes that would originate or perpetuate the observed social organization strategies and behaviors.
This is a damaging paper; it offers no alternative, other than possibly the “selfish gene” concept (a personification fallacy), but spends most of its time undermining the theoretical, logical and experimental bases for these theories which have been touted for years as great Darwinian insights even applied to humans.  Notice that creationists did not write this paper: it is published in PNAS, and was reviewed by Edward O. Wilson, the strongly anti-creationist Harvard biologist who sees the whole of reality in terms of evolution.  When evolutionists undermine their own theories, including ones that have been called “one of the most (if not the most) important evolutionary insights” of the 20th century, are we to merely acquiesce to the dogmatic claims that evolution is a fact?  Few people will read and appreciate this paper in PNAS, but millions will watch a Discovery Channel program on the “evolution of altruism” and be led to believe that human altruism and romance are just survival mechanisms explained by Darwinian theory.  Darwin is the Wizard of Oz that dazzles its subjects with awesome powers.  Here at Creation-Evolution Headlines, we pull back the curtain.
Next headline on: Darwinism.
Like a Diamond in the Sky   05/07/2002
Space dust may contain nanometer-sized diamonds, thinks Geoffrey Clayton of Louisiana State, who wrote his theory in the June 10 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.  If so, the Milky Way could contain 1041 grams of diamonds– a million trillion trillion trillion carats.  For a summary, see
Nature Science Update.
The spectral signature could come from something else, so this should be taken only as a preliminary suggestion, although diamond dust has also been found in meteorites.  Weren’t we taught diamonds needed the intense heat and pressure of the earth for their formation?  However they formed, this finding, if true, should add new luster to our stargazing.  (But teach your kids this is not what makes stars twinkle.)
A verse to ponder: Philippians 4:19.
Next headline on: Stars. • Next amazing story.
Looking for Life on Asteroids   05/06/2002
Exclusive  Dr. Freeman Dyson, a “visionary scientist of international renown” told employees of the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory Monday that watery planets may not be the only place to look for life.  If life forms could concentrate sunlight, such as focusing it through transparent domes, they could survive on the surfaces of small asteroids.  Since near encounters of small rocky bodies in the outer solar system are not that rare, life forms might transfer between them and proliferate on small asteroids.  “Any life form that adapted successfully to a vacuum environment would be likely to spread widely over objects with icy surfaces in the outer regions of the solar system,” he speculates.
When you come to California, you expect to find Fantasyland in Anaheim, not Pasadena.  If you want to wish upon a star and have your dreams come true, head south of JPL about 30 miles, and there you can create imaginary worlds where flowers evolve in the vacuum of space with little light-collecting domes around them, riding asteroids like Sky Ride gondolas around the solar system.  Yet Dyson’s fantasyland, pure speculation with no evidence whatsoever, was presented in all seriousness at a scientific research institution.  He believes, like most Darwinists, in a sort of pantheistic vitalism, that imagines that atoms wish to organize themselves into life forms and then populate every niche in the universe.  When asked why an organism, living comfortably at a warm hydrothermal vent under Europa’s ice, would ever want to migrate out to the vacuum of space, when every step would have to provide a selective advantage (i.e., time for the Reality Check), Dyson replied with a chuckle from the audience that “the details are a little fuzzy.”  Fuzzy was he.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Protein Interactions Prove Evolution?   05/06/2002
A summary report in
EurekAlert for May 6 begins with this announcement: “A fundamental principle of biology is that all life evolved from a common microbial ancestor that appeared on Earth billions of years ago.  This basic tenet of evolutionary theory has been affirmed by the recent flurry of genome maps showing that a wide variety of species - from yeast to roundworms to humans - carry thousands of virtually identical genes in their DNA.”  It proceeds to discuss a paper in the April 26 Science where research compared yeast and roundworm DNA, and found instances where proteins with the fewest interactions appeared to evolve the fastest.
From the bluffing first paragraph, one would think we’re at a boxing match and the judge is holding up the hand of Darwin, who has just delivered a knockout punch, and shouting “And the winner is... Darwin!”  Time for an instant replay.  What does the paper in Science prove?
The Berkeley team studied several thousand protein interactions in yeast, and compared them with roundworms, but then assumed evolution to prove evolution: “For each pair of orthologs, we estimated the evolutionary distance (K) that separates the two sequences, where K is defined as the number of substitutions per amino acid site that have taken place since the fungi-animal split.”  Their graph assumes evolution.  Their hypothesis assumes evolution.  The alternative hypotheses they reject each assume evolution.  The whole paper is based on circular reasoning!
What’s more, consider other flaws in their reasoning: (1) They only considered yeast and roundworms, and only a few of the thousands of genes and proteins; is that an adequate sample?  (2) They ignored all the contrary evidence that shows the molecular clock is unreliable.  (3) Their resulting hypothesis is a work of hand-waving called co-evolution, in which one evolving protein triggers another interacting protein to evolve with it.  This is either teleology, in which the proteins “want” to work together, or multiplying the miracles so that one accident causes other accidents that will result in better fitness.  Taken together, there is nothing in this paper to give evolutionists any hope that their boxer has won the match.
That’s why it is important to go to the source like we do on Creation-Evolution Headlines and look at the data instead of swallowing the reporter’s spin on it.  We also provide you the hyperlink so you can go to the source and see for yourself.  One can imagine Ken Miller (an evolutionist debater) pointing to this paper in Science as proof that evolution has been observed, or college biology professors using it to browbeat doubters of Darwinism.  Are you a critical thinker?  Good... read the paper yourself, winnow out all the evolutionary assumptions, and see if anything but chaff remains.  Then go back to EurekAlert and read their spin; it will make you mad.
Next headline on: Darwinism.
Astrobiologists Envision All Scientific Disciplines Converging Into “Planetary Biology”   05/03/2002
So what else is new?  Evolutionists have prided themselves on explaining molecules to man for a long time, and the pride parade continues.  It appears especially unrestrained, however, in a paper in the
May 3 issue of Science, “Planetary Biology – Paleontological, Geological, and Molecular Histories of Life” in which they envision a synthesis of all scientific inquiry yielding a complete and unified picture of life history:
[Intro] The history of life on Earth is chronicled in the geological strata, the fossil record, and the genomes of contemporary organisms.  When examined together, these records help identify metabolic and regulatory pathways, annotate protein sequences, and identify animal models to develop new drugs, among other features of scientific and biomedical interest.  Together, planetary analysis of genome and proteome databases is providing an enhanced understanding of how life interacts with the biosphere and adapts to global change. ...

[Conclusion, after discussing a few examples of putative molecular relationships] These examples represent only pieces of a much larger puzzle, one that will have global implications when assembled.  Correlation of events in the molecular, paleontological, and geological records, and the molecular dissection of historical events occurring in the past, offers a paradigm to dissect the function of the planetary proteome.  Earth, after all, has only one history.  It carries a finite number of species (perhaps between 1 and 2 million).  When all of their genomes are sequenced, the planetary proteome will (according to current guesses) be composed of fewer than 105 easily recognized modules, independent units of protein sequence evolution.  Consequently, one can imagine a comprehensive model of life on Earth, combining paleontology, geology, chemistry, molecular biology, structural biology, systems biology, and genomics, that captures history and function from the molecule to the planet. ...

A natural annotation of the planetary proteome will require, of course, additions to the paleontological, geological, and molecular records.  Already, funding agencies (such as NASA through its Planetary Biology, Exobiology, and Astrobiology programs) are working to improve these records.  The consequences will certainly take time to percolate through our educational system, as geologists learn more biology and biologists learn more geology.  The past is the key to the present.  When we understand where we came from, and how we got here, we understand better who we are.  This cannot help but have profound and beneficial impact on health, the environment, and the human condition.

The paper is by four scientists from the University of Florida, including two who are members of the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
We give these rather lengthy quotes to give readers a feel for the thinking of astrobiologists who permeate NASA and our universities.  Logical positivism is alive and well.  There isn’t a single point of evidence they present which we have not repeatedly shown to be flawed, irrelevant, mistaken, weak, or flat wrong, here at Creation-Evolution Headlines.  But out of this house of cards they erect a complete world view that explains our origin from atoms up, and illuminates our mission forward to utopia.  Weinberg’s Corollary states, “An expert is someone who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the Grand Fallacy.”
Next headline on: Darwinism.
God Don’t Make No Junk, continued   05/03/2002
“Junk DNA” and “junk brain cells” continue to reveal purpose, according to new reports.  A paper in the
May 3 issue of Science claims that scientists have missed, by an order of magnitude, the DNA transcriptional activity of certain noncoding sections of chromosomes 20 and 21.  The authors give some reasons why scientists didn’t see the activity before, and are not sure yet what the transcribed portions are used for, but appear convinced something interesting is going on: “...the function of these identified transcripts must await additional characterization and perhaps reveal a hidden transcriptome” (i.e., a kind of genetic library of procedures for using the information in the DNA genome).
Update 05/13/2002: Another researcher finds that L1 transposable elements, which make up about 17% of the human genome and were thought to be useless relics of our evolutionary past, may have an important function in DNA repair.  Story in EurekAlert.
Meanwhile, Nature this week had an article titled, “The amazing astrocyte.”  These brain cells, a type of glia (Gr., glue) that have long been considered just padding or scaffolding for the more important neurons, are getting new prestige.  Not just ugly stepsisters, astrocytes appear to be able to generate neurons as well as perform several other key functions in the brain.  Nature comments, “It seems that, in the cellular hierarchy of the nervous system, astrocytes are upwardly mobile.”
We’ll restrain ourselves from the temptation to say, “We told you so.”
Next headline on: The Cell. • Next headline on: Human Body. • Next headline on: Intelligent Design.
Fossil Flower Found in China: Does It Shed Light on Darwin’s “Abominable Mystery”?   05/03/2002
The
May 3 issue of Science contains a report of a new fossil plant found in the Liaoning Province of China, where many surprising and detailed fossils have been found.  Erik Stokstad in his Perspective in the same issue is very optimistic that this fossil will shed light on the origin of angiosperms (flowering plants), called an “abominable mystery” by Charles Darwin and “poorly documented” according to the discoverers.  But Nature Science Update says the new find, named Archaefructae (ancient fruit) is not a missing link, but an evolutionary dead end.
Stokstad’s optimism is unfounded, since the discoverers consider this a “sister taxon” to the angiosperms.  Your sister is not your grandmother.  The fossil shows a well adapted, complex plant with fully formed reproductive systems; all the evolutionary talk is inference.  Watch for it in their statements (emphasis added):
The lack of similarity between Archaefructus and other known fossil plants during the Upper Jurassic/Lower Cretaceous provides us with more information about the primitive angiosperm (as defined by the characteristic of seeds enclosed in carpels) than it does about related pre-angiospermous seed plants.  However, it should be noted that, like other angiosperms (both fossil and living), Archaefructus does not represent the original angiosperm and likely had its own derived features.  The complex of features seen in Archaefructus provides an important point of extrapolation to the original angiosperm, suggesting the possibility that it lacked petals and sepals (previous phylogenies without Archaefructus favor an ancestor with a perianth) and may have been a submerged aquatic (like some Nymphaeales).  Archaefructus is, rather, part of a complex basal group in angiosperm evolution.
In other words, this plant bears no relationship to other alleged ancestors of the flowering plants; it is unique.  The authors admit the relationship to other groups does not lend itself to “easy interpretation.”  It “appears to support” one side of two controversial theories on the origin of flowering plants, both of which are “poorly documented” in the fossil record.  This is why it is important to look at the original source material, like we do on Creation-Evolution Headlines, and not merely accept the spin put on it by the science writers and news media who tend to accept scientists’ pronouncements without question.  The “abominable mystery” of the origin of angiosperms is not going to be solved with the assumption only natural causes are to be considered.  Like Sherlock Holmes, we must approach the phenomenon with the freedom to consider whether it was an accident or intentional.
Next headline on: Fossils. • Next headline on: Plants.
Saddam Plans to Re-Open Ashurbanipal’s Library   05/03/2002
Saddam Hussein is planning a research center for the study of cuneiform tablets, including out of the million found in his country the 25,000 clay tablets from Ashurbanipal’s library.  Ashurbanipal (668 - 627 BC) built
his library 400 years before the famous one at Alexandria.  Fortunately, the clay tablets survived the fire that destroyed Nineveh in The plans for the center at Mosul University are discussed in the May 3 issue of Science.  It is also hoped this will spur efforts to rescue sites threatened by the new dam (see the March 23 headline). 
Saddam may be more interested in national prestige and a legacy for himself than the advancement of scholarship, but any effort to explore the many thousands of untranslated tablets and bring them to life is better than letting them lie in boxes or in the dust within the borders of his police state.  Ashurbanipal, who fashioned himself a learned man (as well as a ruthless dictator), is mentioned in the Bible in Ezra 4:10.  Compare some of Ashurbanipal’s proverbs with Solomon’s.  Interestingly, Ashurbanipal referred to the great Flood as a historical fact.
Next headline on: The Bible.
Book Review 05/03/2002: Stephen Jay Gould in his latest book, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, attacks creationists for hijacking his punctuated equilibria hypothesis and turning into an argument against evolution.  On the Answers in Genesis website, Don Batten defends the argument as the time-honored debate tactic of calling a hostile witness.  He gives examples of Gould’s writings that point out severe shortcomings of neo-Darwinism, and shows how the two antagonistic camps of Darwinists hate each other, but are united in their hate of creationists, their common enemy.
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory.

Neptune’s Ring Arcs Still Mysterious   05/02/2002
Carolyn Porco and Fathi Namouni at the
Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, in a letter to Nature in the May 2 issue, have re-assessed the delicate balance of forces that keeps parts of Neptune’s ring clumped into sausage-like arcs.  Normally, any clumps would quickly spread and be erased within a year, but somehow these structures persist.  First detected from earth in 1986, they are as mysterious as when Voyager 2 imaged them in 1989.  Tidal resonance with Galatea, one of the inner moons, is involved somehow.  Earlier theories invoked corotational inclination resonance (CIR), but this cannot explain the main arc.  Porco proposes a corotational eccentricity resonance (CER), that works if the ring arcs have sufficient mass and Galatea has a certain eccentricity.  Galatea’s orbit, however, should have been circularized (no eccentricity) within 108 years, one fiftieth the assumed age of the solar system.  Perhaps the arcs’ mass causes a residual eccentricity in Galatea’s orbit.  The authors point out several variables that don’t fit neatly into any model, and say perhaps CIR and CER are both needed in concert to explain all the features.  Some values need to be further constrained before their latest model can be evaluated.

This was an odd and unexpected discovery.  Ring particles are subject to continuous disruption and bombardment by micrometeorites, subatomic particles, collisions, gas drag and gravitational perturbations by nearby moons.  That rings exist at all around the four gas giants is puzzling, if the solar system is 4.5 billion years old, but that some of Neptune’s should be confined to clumps and arcs was startling and totally unexpected.  Planetary scientists may someday figure out how to keep them going for long time periods, but for 4.5 billion years?  It would seem very difficult to explain how something so tenuous could be that persistent, because the moons like Galatea are themselves undergoing orbital changes.  That’s why most planetary scientists feel that rings formed recently, and we are just lucky to have evolved at the same time too see them.  Another possibility never considered is that maybe the solar system is not that old.  When Cassini gets to Saturn in 2004, we can probably expect more mysteries of the rings to be unveiled.
Next headline on: Solar System. • Next headline on: Dating Methods.
Did Darwin Invent Molecular Motors?   05/01/2002
George Oster, a Berkeley biologist, in a commentary in the
May 2 Nature gives Darwin the credit for explaining molecular motors like ATP synthase.  After explaining how molecular motors harness random brownian motion to ratchet themselves into directed processes, he concludes:
One of the most remarkable motor enzymes is F1Fo ATPase, possibly life’s most abundant protein, which catalyses the production of ATP.  (Every day, we produce - and consume - about half our body weight in ATP!)  This enzyme consists of two rotary motors attached to a common shaft.  The F1 motor generates a power stroke using ATP as its fuel; the Fo motor is almost a pure brownian ratchet that uses the binding and release of protons flowing through it to rectify its rotational diffusion.  More than any other, this protein has illuminated our knowledge of the miniature motors that form the true basis of Brown’s ‘molecules of life’.

In a broader sense, the idea of generating order by ‘selecting’ from random variations is hardly new - it is the fundamental idea of Darwin’s theory of natural selection.  In the context of motor proteins, the ‘order’ created is a directional force, and the agents of selection are intermolecular attractions.  Hence the idea of a brownian ratchet keeps popping up in new contexts, providing a fertile stimulus to our thinking in disparate fields.  Indeed, as the philosopher Daniel Dennett has said - and I agree - Darwin may have had the best idea that anyone ever had.  Think about it.

We thought about it, and decided a clearer case of intellectual blindness could hardly be found.  This scientist has just attributed exquisite molecular machines, the most efficient true motors in the universe, to chance!  He blindly believes that undirected natural processes, in spite of the law of entropy, will self-organize into miniature factories of interrelated parts.  Read up on ATP synthase and ask yourself if this kind of complexity would ever arise without intelligent design, let alone thousands of machines all working together in the simplest living cell and coordinated by the most elaborately detailed assemblage of information in universe, the DNA code.  Oster calls these “Darwin’s motors”, for crying out loud.  We have here the equivalent of idolaters bowing down to sticks and stones that neither see nor hear, while refusing to acknowledge their Maker.  There is no excuse.
Read our suggestion, contrary to Oster’s, for the best idea anyone ever had.  Think about it.
Next headline on: The Cell. • Next headline on: Darwinism. •
Evolution Takes the Romance Out of Relationships   05/01/2002
A press release about a paper in the upcoming May 7 issue of the
Biological Proceedings of the Royal Society begins:
“A candlelit dinner, fresh flowers, an unexpected gift - all the elements of a fine romance?  Or are they part of an evolutionary strategy developed by men to keep track of their women, and keep them away from other men, during fertile periods?
It proceeds to explain that women prefer affairs during ovulation and men are stimulated to protect their partners at that time, all because of intersexual selection:
Females may sometimes benefit reproductively from having males other than their partner sire offspring - for example to increase genetic quality or diversity in offspring.  This would certainly be the case for ancestral women.  Similar notions predict the men’s’ counter strategy: greater vigilance - a need to know their partner’s whereabouts and activities.  Male partners will enhance their reproductive interests by reducing the probability of investment in offspring not their own.”  But this begs the question of what cues men use to detect the potential period of risk?  “There may be subtle clues in your partner’s scent or visual signs,” says Prof. Gangestad.  “Or it may be a response to the partner’s behaviour, such as an increased interest in other men.”
The original paper is entitled, “Changes in women’s sexual interests and their partners’ mate-retention tactics across the menstrual cycle: evidence for shifting conflicts of interest” by Gangestad, Thornhill and Garver.
Conflicts of interest by whom?  Your selfish genes, of course.  “Begs the question” is an understatement; the whole premise of this paper assumes evolution to demonstrate evolution.  How does this junk science get published?  Reductionist evolutionary science has made humans the pawns of selfish genes that are playing games with us.  The Darwinists have dehumanized people and made them nothing but gene propagators.  Art, music, architecture, scholarship, literature, philosophy, religion, compassion, relationships are all incidental artifacts of this unending struggle to cheat others to get our own genes propagated endlessly.  But why?  Why would genes want to do this anyway?  Do you care?  Does it matter to you as an individual, in the long run, if you have shuffled your cards and handed them off to someone else, but lost your own soul?
Evolutionary thinking is a pervasive acid that cheapens life and makes a mockery of our humanness.  It wipes away any basis for morals and unselfishness.  Yet it is devoid of rigorous scientific evidence, relying instead on storytelling and circular reasoning.  Look at what the researcher said: it may be this, or it may be that, or it may be something else.  Is this the bill of goods we have been sold, when we bartered away faith and morals for a “scientific” view of the world?
Christianity exalts romance and sex as gifts of God that are rewards of faithfulness, honesty, self-control, care, and love.  Evolution trashes all these ideals and puts sex into the gutter of selfishness.  This is nothing new; it’s as old as Greece and Rome and all civilization, but evolution tries to sanctify selfish lust with a shoddy veneer of scientific respectability.  But any college student will understand the lesson of this paper: If propagating your genes is the highest virtue in the universe, then why not go and “do it” with anyone and everyone you can, as often as possible?
Robert Boyle, a founder of the Royal Society, who never married and devoted his life to scientific inquiry for the glory of God, would be appalled at what his institution has become.  This is licentiousness masquerading as science.  Boyle demanded rigorous scientific proof for his claims.  He believed science would elevate mankind and draw us nearer to worship of the Creator.  Today, we have a science that rationalizes lust, adultery, rape, homosexuality and every perversion in the name of Darwinian sexual selection.  The next in the pipeline (just watch) is pedophilia.  It’s time for us recognize reductionist science as disguised hedonism and nihilism.  Paul warned, “If the dead are not raised [naturalism], let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.  Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company [Darwinism] corrupts good morals.’” (I Cor. 15:32-33)
Recommended reading: That Hideous Strength and The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis.
Next headline on: Human Body. • Next headline on: Darwinism. • Next dumb story.
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Featured Creation Scientist for May

Louis Pasteur
1822 - 1895

(Continued from last month)

Spontaneous Generation
His opponents already knew that a sealed jar of nutrient broth would not generate life.  They surmised that air contained a vital ingredient.  Pasteur believed that microbes in dust, not the air itself, produced the swarms of living things.  How could he create an environment open to the air, but prevent microbes in dust from getting to the broth?  This problem led to his famous swan-necked flask experiment.  He put a nutrient broth into a flask, then heated and shaped the neck into a horizontal S-curve open to the air.  Dust containing the microbes became trapped in the curve and could not enter the broth, but the air could pass freely in and out.  Pasteur demonstrated to his critics and skeptics that under these circumstances, the broth remained sterile, while flasks without the swan neck swarmed with microorganisms.

Some diehards still objected, however.  They said that if the air were infested with microbes, it would form a dense fog.  Pasteur responded with a series of experiments taking his flasks to a variety of environments, in the city and in the country, and even up high on Mont Blanc (where he had to endure a cold night in a miserable inn).  The flasks in the city became clouded with microbes, but all but one on the high mountain were sterile.  He concluded that microbe-carrying dust particles vary with elevation and pollution, but clearly it was microbes in airborne dust, not the air itself, was the source of the life that appeared to spontaneously generate in the broth.  He publicly challenged his opponents to prove him wrong with rigorous experiments that excluded airborne dust, and they could not.  The Academy of Sciences judged Pasteur’s observations to be “of the most perfect exactitude,”and in the end, even his bitterest critics and the most ardent advocates of spontaneous generation acquiesced.  Pasteur said, “No– there is today no circumstance known in which it can be confirmed that microscopic beings have come into the world without germs, without parents similar to them.  Those who maintain this view are the victims of illusions, of ill-conducted experiments, blighted with errors that they have either been unable to perceive or unable to avoid.”  Yet they are with us today.

Today, believers in spontaneous generation are back with a vengeance.  They are called astrobiologists and chemical evolutionists.  Their slant is that spontaneous generation does not happen quickly, but can over millions of years, not from nutrient broth, but from primordial soup– organic molecules known to be formed naturally, like some amino acids.  They believe that, given enough time and the right circumstances, life arose from simple molecules and evolved into every living thing, seahorses, giraffes, dinosaurs, roses, and humans.  Do they have any evidence for this?  Absolutely not.  Pasteur’s Law of Biogenesis, that only life begets life, stands as firm as it did in 1862.  Pasteur’s judgment on those who violate that law should be sternly proclaimed from the lecterns of today’s Astrobiology conferences as he proclaimed it in person: “Those who maintain this view are the victims of illusions, of ill-conducted experiments, blighted with errors that they have either been unable to perceive or unable to avoid.”

Pasteur Vallery-Radot wrote a brief biography of his famous grandfather in 1958, and claimed that Pasteur did not consider spontaneous generation altogether impossible.  He even claimed Pasteur “had dreams about creating or modifying life.”  But he provides no support for that claim, referring back only to an earlier time when, working with crystals, Pasteur appeared optimistic that if he could identify the forces that produced asymmetry, he would be at the threshold of life.  But on the very next page, he quotes Pasteur as admitting defeat and saying, “After all, one has to be something of a fool to undertake what I did.”  This was prior to his experiments on spontaneous generation, so Pasteur appears to have convinced himself even back then that Life was too extraordinary to explain with chemicals acting under natural forces.

After this unsupported assertion, Vallery-Radot went on to praise the Miller spark-discharge experiment, “In fact, only recently the ancient argument for the spontaneous generation of life has revived, on the basis of laboratory experiments.  These revealed that the basic elements making up living matter can be synthesized out of simple chemicals, under conditions existing on this planet a billion years ago.”  Thus Pasteur’s grandson became seduced by the neo-spontaneous generationists, unaware that the alleged conditions could not have existed on the early earth, and the products were useless, mixed-handed dead ends.  Descendent regardless, it was a distortion for Vallery-Radot to assert that Pasteur was favorable to ideas of evolution.  John Hudson Tiner said, “Pasteur rejected the theory of evolution for scientific reasons.  He was the first European scientist to do so.  He also rejected it on religious grounds” (History of Medicine, p. 81).  He said, “My philosophy comes from the heart and not from the intellect, and I adhere to that which is inspired by the natural eternal sentiments one feels at the sickbed of a beloved child breathing his last.  Something deep in our soul tells us that the universe is more than an arrangement of certain compounds in a mechanical equilibrium, arisen from the chaos of elements by a gradual action of Nature’s forces” (Vallery-Radot, p. 157).  This is a clear rejection of Darwinian naturalism.

We may not know exactly how Pasteur would respond to today’s evolutionists and astrobiologists, but most likely he would not be impressed by “illusions, of ill-conducted experiments, blighted with errors that they have either been unable to perceive or unable to avoid.”  Pasteur was a stickler for scientific proof and intellectual honesty.  He summarized his lifelong attitude, “If I have at times disturbed the tranquillity of your academies by somewhat stormy discussions, it was only because I am a passionate defender of the truth.”  He would not, therefore, have tolerated the unsupported speculations of the chemical evolutionists.  He was also a creationist and a devout man of faith.  He said, “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the works of the Creator.”  Despite the evolution that permeates today’s Pasteur Institute, evolutionists cannot claim Louis Pasteur as their own.  We think he would be pleased at the progress in medicine but appalled at the evolutionary mindset.

But we digress; we have only begun to share the honorable achievements of this great scientist.  Pasteurization: just the word suggests a benefit every one of us takes for granted but, without which, we would be cast backward into harsher and riskier times people coped with for most of history: spoilage of food and drink.  Through studies of yeast in wine, Pasteur found that by heating the wine to a certain temperature after fermentation but before spoiling bacteria invaded, the wine could be preserved much longer without loss of taste.  This discovery applied soon to milk, orange juice, and many other goods, and revolutionized food processing.  Now, drinks could be carried on board ships without spoilage.  Farmers and merchants did not have to rush goods so quickly, and risk great economic loss from spoilage due to delays in shipment.  When combined with the refrigeration that came out of the work of Lord Kelvin and James Joule, pasteurization gave households the ability to enjoy good-tasting drinks for days and weeks without having to restock.  The economic benefits of this simple lab discovery were enormous, and could have made Pasteur rich.  But humble and unselfish man he was, believing science was for the good of the people, Pasteur promptly released his patent to the public domain and never benefited financially from it, though he was not a rich man by any means.  (The term pasteurization was applied to the process later in his honor.)  Today, Surebeam Corporation has extended the concept to “electronic pasteurization,” the use of electron beams for killing the bacteria that spoil food, and it is also being applied to protecting our mail from terrorist attempts to spread anthrax.

Which brings us to another of Pasteur’s monumental achievements, the germ theory of disease.  It’s hard for us these days to fathom the mindset of doctors who, through most of history, attributed infectious disease to bad air, bad bodily fluids, comets and mystical forces.  Pasteur was convinced that the microbes he studied were the agents of infection, and proved it with a series of remarkable, life-saving and industry-saving discoveries.  His work is legendary and covered in detail in some of the books we recommend, such as John Hudson Tiner’s History of Medicine and Founder of Modern Medicine: Louis Pasteur, but we will touch on some of them briefly.  One of the most famous experiments involved anthrax in livestock.  Anthrax was economically crippling to farmers and ranchers who could only look on in despair as their sheep weakened and died.  Pasteur isolated the microbe that caused the disease.  In a remarkable stroke of luck and insight, Pasteur learned that a weakened form of the bacteria provided the same immunity without killing the animal.  When he was convinced of his theory, he set out to prove it in a risky public demonstration that put his reputation on the line.

He took 50 sheep and inoculated 25 of them with weakened anthrax bacilli.  Then, in a good controlled experiment, he exposed all 50 to the full virulent form.  Critics were poised and ready to call him a crazy fool; would it work?  With the whole countryside watching, Pasteur announced in advance that only 100% success would prove his theory right.  Even he became a little uneasy in private.  He spent a sleepless night waiting for word of the results.  In the morning, a telegram: “Stupendous success!”  All the inoculated sheep were doing fine; every one not inoculated died.  Pasteur’s critics flocked to him like repentant sinners, and his celebrity skyrocketed.  Ranchers were saved; anthrax now had a cure.  His method of identifying the infectious agent, weakening it, and then using it to inoculate a host soon was applied to many other debilitating diseases, by Pasteur himself (on cholera) and others, saving millions of lives.  Probably no other discovery in the history of science has saved more lives than Pasteur’s germ theory of disease, applied to immunization.  Edward Jenner had applied a similar method to smallpox in 1796 without knowledge of the infectious agent; with Pasteur, vaccination had a theory and a methodology that could be applied to many diseases.  Though a chemist and not a doctor, Pasteur is rightly considered a founder, perhaps the founder, of modern medicine.  In his later years, one particular deadly disease was to give Pasteur the challenge of his life: rabies.

Rabies is a viral infection.  The virus was too small to be seen by microscopes in Pasteur’s time.  This lack of evidence threatened his germ theory, but Pasteur was convinced an unseen microbial agent caused the disease, and proceeded to follow his procedure of finding ways to weaken it.  It was hard work, with many false starts and dead ends, but he eventually was successful inoculating dogs with a series of increasingly potent rabies shots that appeared to provide immunity.  That’s when he had a knock at the door.  A desperate mother with her son, Joseph Meister, who had been bitten by a mad dog, pleaded with Pasteur for help.  He replied that he was not ready for human testing, but she and other doctors agreed that if nothing was done, Joseph would die.  Rabies was always fatal.  With nothing to lose, Joseph agreed to be a test patient, and the compassionate Pasteur, knowing the desperateness of the situation, once again put his reputation on the line and began the sequence of inoculations.  Pasteur was in anguish over his patient’s situation and the fear of failure.  After a month passed, Joseph Meister was healthy, with no symptoms–the first man in history to be cured of rabies.  Patients, bitten by rapid animals, flocked to his lab, for the first time having hope to be spared an agonizing, painful, certain death.  Pasteur was again a hero.

Pasteur’s germ theory also saved the silk industry and led to many other discoveries, both economically and medically beneficial.  Today we know much more about infectious agents and the body’s amazing immune system, and many new techniques are available.  Now scientists can target the very genes that code for genetic diseases, and are working on molecular “magic bullets” that can stop a particular toxin produced by a germ, but they owe much to the pathway Pasteur blazed for applying empirical science to the public good.  He demonstrated the power of controlled experimentation, rigorous testing, and formulating hypotheses that can be tested.  He had no use for empty speculations and grandiose stories that could not be observed and tested to be true or false.  A maxim he liked to quote was, “It is the worst aberration of the mind to believe things because one wishes them to be so.”  Prove it, he demanded.  Much of modern science in the 21st century, unfortunately, rests on unproveable assumptions, unobservable causes, and wishful thinking.  Classical empirical science, hard science that depended on controlled experimentation, a scientific method that harked back to Roger and Francis Bacon, practiced by great Christians through the centuries in many fields, reached one of its highest pinnacles in Louis Pasteur.

Some great scientists of the 20th century have been moral midgets and character cripples, but not Pasteur.  He embodied the utmost in integrity and altruism.  Despite a crippling stroke at age 48 that nearly ended his career, he rallied with even more zeal to apply science for human good, and that is when he many of his greatest discoveries.  Though zealous for his causes, he attacked falsehoods but not men.  His grandson described him: “This man, so intolerant against adversaries who refused to listen to the truth, was in his private life the gentlest, most affectionate and sensitive individual.  As Emile Roux stated, ‘Pasteur’s work is admirable and proves his genius, but one had to live in his house to fully recognize the goodness of his heart.’”  That goodness extended to the children inflicted with rabies who came to be healed, to his own family, and to his dear wife Marie Laurent, to whom he gave lifelong devotion.  A more endearing team could hardly be found in the history of science.  His wife recognized his genius and gave him every possible leeway and assistance to aid him and encourage him in his work; in turn, he loved her passionately and faithfully all his life and gave her all the quality time his busy schedule could allow.  Though driven with an uncommon zeal for his mission in life, Louis Pasteur was a family man, a good father, a devoted husband.

Pasteur was showered with honors late in life.  For decades, he endured harsh critics who considered him a crackpot, a charlatan, a villain, or just lucky.  One opponent even challenged him to a duel.  Others accused him falsely of giving people rabies, not curing it.  Pasteur responded with honor and integrity and zeal.  He could be blistering in his attacks, but never vituperative; he attacked falsehoods, not personalities, and defended truth, not his own prestige.  In his heart, he knew he was right, and that confidence helped him endure hardship, his stroke, deprivation, anxiety, and character assassination.  But wisdom knows its own; at age 70 he stood before a standing ovation of hundreds of academics, doctors and members of scientific societies from around the world who had come to pay him tribute.  Joseph Lister, who had applied Pasteur’s germ theory of disease to antiseptics in the hospital and thus drastically reduced mortality rates, paid him tribute by saying, “Pasteur had lifted the veil that for centuries had hidden the infectious diseases.”  These two men, who combined had done more to save human lives than any other, embraced on stage, resulting in thundering applause from the audience.  Too moved to speak, Pasteur gave his son his address, which contained these self-effacing words:

You delegates of foreign countries who have come a long way to show your sympathy for France, have given me the greatest joy a man can feel who believes that Science and Peace will prevail over Ignorance and War, that the nations will learn to understand each other, not for destruction but for advancement, and that the future belongs to those how have done most for suffering mankind.  Young men ... Ask yourselves first: What have I done for my education?  And as you gradually advance: What have I done for my country? – until the moment comes when you experience the tremendous gratification of knowing that in some measure you have contributed to the progress and welfare of mankind.  More or less favored by the current of life as your efforts may be, you must have the right to say, on approaching the great goal: I have done all I could do.

His grandson wrote, “Pasteur’s health was undermined by a life overcharged with ideas, emotions, work, and struggles” (Vallery-Radot, p. 195).  He suffered two more debilitating strokes and finally died holding his wife’s hand and a crucifix in the other.  At his crypt are inscribed his words, “Blessed is the Man who Carries in his Soul a God, a Beautiful Ideal that he Obeys–Ideal of Art, Ideal of Science, Ideal of the Fatherland, Ideal of the Virtues of the Gospel.”  Stephen Paget, a long time friend, who studied his life carefully, eulogized him after his death with these words: “Here was a life, within the limits of humanity, well-nigh perfect.  He worked incessantly.  He went through poverty, bereavement, ill health and opposition.  He lived to see his doctrines current over all the world.  Yet here was a man whose spiritual life was no less admirable than his scientific life” (Founder of Modern Medicine, p. 176).

Was Pasteur a born-again Christian?  His son-in-law said that “he believed in the divine impulse which has created the Universe; with the yearnings of his heart he proclaimed the immortality of the soul.”  His grandson said, ”Pasteur respected the religion of his forefathers; he had profound Christian ideals, but he was not, as has been asserted, an observant Catholic” (Vallery-Radot, p. 159)  John Hudson Tiner claims Pasteur had devotions each morning, read the Bible and prayed before going about each day’s activity” (History of Medicine, p. 84).  Henry Morris quotes him as saying, “Could I but know all, I would have the faith of a Breton peasant woman” (Men of Science, Men of God, p. 62).  In some quotes Pasteur appeals to be mystical or indefinite in his concept of God, as an Infinity that might be embodied in various religions.  We know, however, that people grow in faith and understanding at different times in their lives, so one quote may not characterize the lifetime; Tiner quotes his son-in-law as stating that at the end, “The virtues of the gospel were very present to him.  He came to his Christian faith simply and naturally for spiritual help in the last stages of his life” (Founder of Modern Medicine, p. 175.)  Clearly he was not a materialist, but it’s hard to say for sure if Pasteur fully understood and accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ in its New Testament sense.  Jesus did say that you will know men by their fruits, and Christian values and character traits were evident throughout his life.  If nothing else, Pasteur stood squarely in the tradition of Boyle, Newton and Maxwell in seeing science as a godly calling for the worship of the Creator and the betterment of mankind.  The fruits of the Christian world view in science were ripe and sweet in the life of Louis Pasteur, and we are all the better for it.  Remember this great scientist whenever you open your refrigerator and pour from a container that says, pasteurized.

The rest of the story: At the Pasteur Institute today, some of Pasteur’s original swan-necked flasks remain open to the air, the broth still sterile after 140 years.

For more information on Louis Pasteur and other great Christians in science, see our online book:
The World’s Greatest Creation Scientists from 1000 to 2000 A.D.
Copies are also available from our online store.

A Concise Guide
to Understanding
Evolutionary Theory

You can observe a lot by just watching.
– Yogi Berra

First Law of Scientific Progress
The advance of science can be measured by the rate at which exceptions to previously held laws accumulate.
Corollaries:
1. Exceptions always outnumber rules.
2. There are always exceptions to established exceptions.
3. By the time one masters the exceptions, no one recalls the rules to which they apply.

Darwin’s Law
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
Bloch’s Extension
So will Darwinists.

Finagle’s Creed
Science is true.  Don’t be misled by facts.

Finagle’s 2nd Law
No matter what the anticipated result, there will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c) believe it happened to his own pet theory.

Finagle’s Rules
3. Draw your curves, then plot your data.
4. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
6. Do not believe in miracles – rely on them.

Murphy’s Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.

Maier’s Law
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
Corollaries:
1. The bigger the theory, the better.
2. The experiments may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with the theory.

Eddington’s Theory
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.

Young’s Law
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
Corollary
The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make the mistake.

Peer’s Law
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.

Peter’s Law of Evolution
Competence always contains the seed of incompetence.

Weinberg’s Corollary
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.

Souder’s Law
Repetition does not establish validity.

Cohen’s Law
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts – not the facts themselves.

Harrison’s Postulate
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

Thumb’s Second Postulate
An easily-understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex, incomprehensible truth.

Ruckert’s Law
There is nothing so small that it can’t be blown out of proportion

Hawkins’ Theory of Progress
Progress does not consist in replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is right.  It consists in replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is more subtly wrong.

Macbeth’s Law
The best theory is not ipso facto a good theory.

Disraeli’s Dictum
Error is often more earnest than truth.

Advice from Paul

Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge – by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.

I Timothy 6:20-21

Song of the True Scientist

O Lord, how manifold are Your works!  In wisdom You have made them all.  The earth is full of Your possessions . . . . May the glory of the Lord endure forever.  May the Lord rejoice in His works . . . . I will sing to the Lord s long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.  May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord.  May sinners be consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more.  Bless the Lord, O my soul!  Praise the Lord!

from Psalm 104

Maxwell’s Motivation

Through the creatures Thou hast made
Show the brightness of Thy glory.
Be eternal truth displayed
In their substance transitory.
Till green earth and ocean hoary,
Massy rock and tender blade,
Tell the same unending story:
We are truth in form arrayed.

Teach me thus Thy works to read,
That my faith,– new strength accruing–
May from world to world proceed,
Wisdom’s fruitful search pursuing
Till, thy truth my mind imbuing,
I proclaim the eternal Creed –
Oft the glorious theme renewing,
God our Lord is God indeed.

James Clerk Maxwell
One of the greatest physicists
of all time (a creationist).